Brian May leads anti-badger cull rally in Taunton
Brian May warned supporters of the badger cull they are taking the “wrong path”, in a meeting in Somerset on the weekend, as he led a rally against plans to kill thousands of badgers, words he has spoken many times since the cull was announced.
But the guitarist with Queen this time had a trick up his sleeve, telling a crowd of more than 200 people that he has produced a new song for the campaign and hopes to recruit Brian Blessed before he releases it to the public.
Based on the Badger, Badger, Badger cartoon by animator Jonti Picking that became an internet hit a few years ago, he hopes to use it to promote his anti-cull message.
Mr May told the Western Daily Press: “What we’re saying is that if you save the badger, you save the countryside and you save the cows as well. You will not the solve the problem by killing.”
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The vice president of the RSPCA urged West Country farmers to “take a look at the evidence” before authorising the killing of badgers on their land, and called them to support vaccination.
Speaking after the public meeting in Taunton on Saturday night, he added: “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 thousands of badgers in the South West, designed to halt the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in cattle.
Dr May, who earned the title in astrophysics, told the meeting: “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.”
A coalition of charities and wildlife groups are campaigning to stop the controversial activity across two pilot zones in West Somerset, Gloucestershire and a reserve site in Dorset.
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.”
Team Badger claims the Government is defying public opinion, the will of Parliament, and even some farmers.
Steve Jones, a retired dairy farmer, claimed the badger cull would add misery to an industry already in “freefall”. He said: “The fact that we’re losing cows hand over fist shows farmers are stressed. To kill badgers is going to put even more stress on the industry.”