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Farmers rubbish rock star’s claims over badger cull pilots

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 27, 2012

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Farming leaders in the Westcountry have accused rock star Brian May of politicising the badger culling debate instead of treating it as an animal welfare issue.

The Queen band member prompted a response from the NFU following an article he wrote in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday.

In the piece, the vegetarian musician denounces Prime Minister David Cameron for allowing pilot culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire to go ahead in a month’s time.

The cull is being trialled in an effort to prevent TB from badgers infecting cattle and in turn their slaughter.

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Mr May said although he voted Conservative he would never vote for Mr Cameron because of the cull.

He branded the move part of a “particularly nasty kind of Conservatism” and said the cull was “being pursued on the pretext of ‘doing something’ about the problem of bovine TB.”

The guitarist wrote: “Nevertheless, Cameron, Agriculture Minister Jim Paice and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman cling to this appalling policy, and one can only assume that they are pandering to a powerful farming leadership who helped elect them.”

He went onto say: “Anyone who dares to disagree with the NFU or the Countryside Alliance (over the cull) is branded a nutter.”

Mr May calls for the cull to be jettisoned and states: “The first steps in this country will be to abort this disgraceful, tragic, and pointless killing of badgers. The cull must be stopped.”

Ian Johnson, spokesman in the South West for the NFU described Mr May’s opinions as “rubbish”.

In response to Mr May’s comment in the article that “Even the National Farmers’ Union admits killing badgers on this scale will not solve the problem,” Mr Johnson said: “I don’t know where he’s got that from.

“This is not political – this is an animal welfare issue and he should not be politicising the problem.

“Brian May is a well-intentioned, very rich misguided person.

“If he wants to get involved in animal welfare he should be getting involved with the scourge of TB that affects not just cattle but other species too.

“His comments do nothing to help a rational debate about the problem.”

Mr Johnson rejected Mr May’s further assertions that “David Cameron leads a new generation of Tories hell-bent on bringing back bloodsports – to make it once again legal to tear apart foxes and stags with packs of dogs, and to bring back the despicable ‘sport’ of hare-coursing.”

He said: “These comments are really not helpful. Brian May doesn’t realise that before blood hunts were banned there were lots of farmers who didn’t want the hunt going over their land because they didn’t agree with it.

“He’s obviously a very intelligent man so I can’t understand why he’s involving himself with issues he does not understand.”

A spokesman for Downing Street said the Prime Minister was on holiday in Cornwall and declined to comment, adding it was a matter for Defra.

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  • dodgethebulle  |  September 18 2012, 11:36AM

    Anyone wishing to read about badgers and bovine TB should read the below link, you will quickly realise that ssimples, 2ladybugs and charlespk are distributing false information for a reason. They enjoy killing and are probably directly involved with the badger cull.. http://tinyurl.com/8c93odx http://tinyurl.com/bvjp9rv

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  • dodgethebulle  |  September 11 2012, 12:03PM

    Independent scientific studies have shown that culling would be of little help in reducing bovine TB, and even suggest that it could make things worse in some areas. To hear the facts, press play on the video below. If you want the government to make the sensible choice. Sign the Petition http://tinyurl.com/9ndb3ty http://tinyurl.com/9lmonj3

    |   2
  • NDJMILLER  |  August 30 2012, 8:58AM

    Report away old boy, I've said nothing that doesn't refer to hard data from official government sources and agencies. If you can't handle that then go away and stop posting drivel. You've got more red arrows then the RAF.

    |   51
  • NDJMILLER  |  August 30 2012, 12:12AM

    Oh so now the badgers are a public health issue as well ! Well if that's the case then you can be sure this government will sit on it's **** and do nothing about it, just as it has with the ever-increasing human TB issue in this country that has resulted from uncontrolled immigration. Pity you don't seem to be concerned with that but I guess it's a lot easier to target wildlife then to be labelled xenophobic. http://tinyurl.com/6md7aws http://tinyurl.com/d9bguv8

    |   51
  • Charlespk  |  August 29 2012, 8:38PM

    Yes well you'd know! . You're so intelligent!! xxx

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  • dodgethebulle  |  August 29 2012, 8:34PM

    Rubbish

    |   29
  • Charlespk  |  August 29 2012, 7:03PM

    There will be a cull. . It is now a public health as well as an agricultural issue.

    |   -33
  • Charlespk  |  August 29 2012, 6:51PM

    @dodgedthebullet Did you know that 75% of 4000+ genes from any of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genus of bacteria, including the Mycobacterium avium complex(MAC), are now considered to have evolved simply to avoid any hosts immune responses, and they are continually evolving?. . And new XDR strains are now turning up regularly? . These bacilli are the nautilus of the bacteria world, and almost impossible to stop reproducing now, let alone kill. You might have dodged the bullet, but you can't dodge these babies if a dozen or two have got your name on them. Back in 1997, Dr. Jerome Harms, now Senior Scientist, Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote. "Recently, there have been many outbreaks of M.bovis caused tuberculosis in humans especially HIV+ patients. Most have occurred in countries where M.bovis is endemic in the animal agriculture population. Multi-drug resistant strains of M.bovis are now appearing as well. The significance of this TB threat from M.bovis has not been taken as seriously as the threat from M.tuberculosis (Human TB)" "However, the scientific and medical community must not ignore the potential of an M.bovis TB epidemic." Again; quite prophetically, he wrote that back in 1997.(TB is now at a 30 year high. HIV sufferers are most at risk) http://tinyurl.com/6ddk4pb (open in a new window) http://tinyurl.com/bwxembw (open in a new window)

    |   -25
  • dodgethebulle  |  August 29 2012, 6:09PM

    Anyone wishing to learn about the real causes on bovine TB, the badger cull and why it is doomed to failure please read the following link.. http://tinyurl.com/7efvfqm

    |   45
  • Charlespk  |  August 29 2012, 4:59PM

    Only 116! . You can do better than that surely!! . Now concentrate! People often call Mycobacterium.bovis "The Cattle Strain". . That is one of the major problems I believe. . When the bacteria that was causing the TB in cattle was first identified, it was named M.bovis, but as it first originated from M.tuberculosis (The human strain); it most likely first appeared in other animals, vermin or the like that scavenged at mans' "dustbins", latrines or graves; not the cattle. In a relatively recent report, researchers examined the ancient village of Atlit-Yam, which has been covered by water for the past several thousand years, and which has yielded skeletons and some of the earliest evidence for agriculture and for cattle domestication. According to one long-standing hypothesis, tuberculosis initially infected people who drank the milk of domesticated cattle that carried a unique strain of the TB bacterium. However, new DNA data from the two Atlit-Yam skeletons provides evidence that in a community with domesticated animals, but before dairying, the infecting strain of tuberculosis was actually the human pathogen. The researchers estimate that human tuberculosis first evolved around 10,000 years ago, when agriculture's emergence led to densely populated settlements that acted as petri dishes for infection. Tuberculosis may have infected small numbers of people before that, but the bacteria could not have spread widely in small bands of nomadic hunter-gatherers. One of the pleasures of science is that nothing remains certain forever. The report can be found at the link here: http://tinyurl.com/63cep23 (open in new window) Scientists now even believe that it probably dates back over 100 thousand years. These very slow growing, insidious bacteria are constantly mutating with clonal expansion and they are now 'on the march' again. http://tinyurl.com/bwxembw (open in a new window)

    |   -147

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