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VIDEO: Rock star Brian May warns that badger cull is wrong

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 22, 2013

By Adam Walmesley

RSPCA vice-president Brian May addressing the audience in Taunton yesterday as ‘Team Badger’ seeks a rethink on the cull. Picture: Adam Walmesley

RSPCA vice-president Brian May addressing the audience in Taunton yesterday as ‘Team Badger’ seeks a rethink on the cull. Picture: Adam Walmesley

Comments (14)

Rock star and countryside campaigner Brian May has warned supporters of the badger cull they are taking the "wrong path" as he led a rally against plans to kill thousands of the wild animals in a bid to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle.

The guitarist with Queen, one of the world's biggest rock bands, also told a crowd of more than 200 people that he had used his musical talents to produce a new song for the badger campaign.

May, now a doctor of astrophysics, later told the Western Morning News: "What we're saying is that if you save the badger, you save the country-side and you save the cows as well. You will not the solve the problem by killing."

The rock star, who is vice president of the RSPCA, urged farmers to "take a look at the evidence" before authorising killing badgers on their land.

He called on them to support a vaccination programme of the species instead of a cull.

Mr May, speaking after the public meeting in Taunton on Saturday, added: "You have to wonder why the Government is clinging to this policy that is not supported by science, not supported by the public, not supported by parliament, and that will not help farmers. Any farmer who believes the statistics will have to spend money and what he's going to get in return is nothing."

His warning comes less than six weeks before the Government-authorised cull of badgers in the South West.

A coalition of charities and wildlife groups are campaigning to stop the cull across three pilot zones in West Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset under the name Team Badger.

Gavin Grant, RSPCA chief executive, branded the cull as a "national disgrace". He said: "It is simply not good enough to declare 'Something must be done' when the something to be done is entirely the wrong thing to be done – either for the wildlife or for the cattle, for the wellbeing of our countryside or for the farmers who make up that countryside."

Mr Grant said the cull would make no "material difference" to bovine TB, saying that six out of seven badgers killed will be "perfectly healthy".

The coalition claims the Government is defying public opinion, the will of parliament, and even some farmers by pressing ahead with the cull.

Steve Jones, a retired dairy farmer spearheading a 'not in this farmer's name' campaign, claimed the badger cull would add further misery to an industry already in "freefall".

He said: "The fact that we're losing cows hand over fist shows farmers are stressed, the industry is stressed, and the environment is stressed. To kill badgers is going to put even more stress on the industry."

Team Badger has criticised the Government for pushing ahead with the cull – designed to wipe out at least 70% of badger populations – over a period of six weeks from the beginning of June.

Mark Jones, executive director of Humane Society International, said it would "devastate badger populations and communities across huge swathes of our countryside, and cause untold suffering".

Mr May said he hoped to recruit actor Brian Blessed to help with his badger song – a revised version of the 'Badger, badger, badger' cartoon by animator Jonti Picking.

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  • mmjames  |  April 24 2013, 10:41AM

    http://tinyurl.com/ck3ukvr Wednesday, September 24, 2008 'Bovine' Tuberculosis - 'Badger' Tuberculosis? snip but the most telling phrase of FG's report we think is 'badgers known to inhabit her garden'. Inhabit, as in live. Not passing through then? And having examined the usual suspects, including the lady's past employment, this exposure would seem to be 'possible' (most likely) source of the outbreak. Badgers were known to inhabit her garden and the scientists conclude that this was a more likely source of infection, according to veterinary sources who have seen the paper. The Health Protection Agency said human cases of bTB did occur 'occasionally' in the UK but the current risk was considered 'negligible'. But they also confirm that not all tuberculosis cases are strain typed. They were unable to provide the editors of this site with figures for the umbrella term 'tuberculosis complex' used to describe such 'untyped' cases. Farmers Guardian quote eight cases of m. bovis type tuberculosis in humans in the South West of England in 2006 and 2007 and 20 nationally in 2005. Only five cases in dogs have been identified in the past 20 years (to 2006).

    Rate   -5
  • mmjames  |  April 24 2013, 9:23AM

    I wonder why Charlespk got a down rating for posting links to medical FACTS?

    Rate   -7
  • Charlespk  |  April 24 2013, 7:59AM

    Proven by spoligotype and VNTR profile to have benn contracted from the local badgers. http://tinyurl.com/8a7bwy9 http://tinyurl.com/bwxembw Ignorance is no protection.

    Rate   -13
  • jimjams2011  |  April 23 2013, 10:24PM

    I didn't realise Brian May created the song for Badgers. Badger badger badger badger... mushroom! http://tinyurl.com/aycyqrq

    Rate   10
  • Charlespk  |  April 23 2013, 8:45PM

    It's such a great pity that badgerists haven't even got the first clue what they are talking about when it comes to tuberculosis, and don't give a brass monkey about the the suffering it causes to any mammals, including badgers.

    Rate   -13
  • Tweedy-Pete  |  April 23 2013, 9:46AM

    @MMjames There are over 850 zoonotic diseases. Quite a big list of animals for you to kill.....Lets start alphabetically with Apes and when we have killed all them, lets work our way through Wolves!

    Rate   2
  • mmjames  |  April 23 2013, 8:48AM

    @ stormkettle Monday, April 22 2013, 10:12PM "Shooting wild animals is a wierd and sad activity, that creates misery." What is more weird is not being afraid of a grade 3 zoonosis spreading throughout wildlife.

    Rate   -22
  • stormkettle  |  April 22 2013, 10:12PM

    Shooting wild animals is a wierd and sad activity, that creates misery.

    Rate   18
  • ATTICUSFINCH  |  April 22 2013, 5:22PM

    I like Brian but Anita Dobson should really Cull his Hair.

    Rate   -8
  • mmjames  |  April 22 2013, 3:46PM

    by Jennypenny Monday, April 22 2013, 7:25AM "If only Brian May were Minister for the Environment instead of that environmental VANDAL Paterson!" Click to rate Rating 9 ......................... A rating of +9 for someone who doesn't know that M.bovis is TUBERCULOSIS!

    Rate   -20