'We're at war with the Government': Brian May's pledge to protect Britain's badgers

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'We're at war with the Government': Brian May's pledge to protect Britain's badgers

The decision to kill badgers to halt the spread of bovine TB will bring thousands of demonstrators out in protest next week.

Leading them is the unlikely figurehead of Queen guitarist Brian May.

The legendary rocker is so opposed to the cull he says animal rights campaigners are 'at war with the Government'.

The cull is due to start on June 1 in Gloucestershire and Somerset, where trained marksmen will be permitted to shoot badgers when they leave their setts over a six-week period.

The Government and the NFU (National Farmers' Union), say the cull will help eradicate bovine TB, which affected 6,000 British cattle in the first two months of 2013.


He is familiar to millions as a musical icon in Britain, but in recent years Brian has become an outspoken champion of animal rights.

He may have sold 18million albums, received a CBE, and played the national anthem on the roof of Buckingham Palace, but if he helped reverse the cull Brian says it would rank among his best ever achievements.

'If I went to my grave knowing I had changed the way we treat animals, that would be the best epitaph I could have', he told Yahoo! today.

'We have no right to treat animals this way. Badgers were here thousands of years ago and we have destroyed parts of their habitat already.

'We are fighting a war against this government, which is one of the most un-green and pro-cruelty governments you can imagine. They have no concern for wildlife.

'We are witnessing something which is quite loathsome - this network of people who are determined to keep the country in the dark ages.

'If the badger cull does go ahead, I don't think David Cameron realises how much things could change.'

A long-time supporter of animal rights, Brian said many of Queen's songs 'contained our concerns about the world'.

The anti-culling campaign he helped start in 2008, called 'Save Me', is named after a Queen ballad from 1980.

Brian, 65, has vented his animal rights views online for over six years, and it was his 'Soapbox' blog which alerted him to a hedgehog cull in Scotland.

Hundreds of hedgehogs were killed by lethal injection between 2003 and 2007, as they were thought to be affecting the population of ground nesting birds.

After lending his support, the cull was scrapped in 2007, and Brian sensed that his influence and contacts could help other parts of the animal world.

He added: 'I became more and more aware that there are massive injustices in the way we treat animals around the world.

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'I said to myself that one day in the future, if I had the time, I would try to tackle it.'

'Team Badger', a 'coalition of animal welfare organisations' say the cull is 'unsound, unscientific, and unacceptable', and could even make the bovine TB situation worse in some areas.

Brian, along with Team Badger, has since put all his efforts into opposing the badger cull, which he sees as a 'barbaric atrocity'.


His army of supporters, who protested outside Defra's office earlier this month, will march in London on June 1.

Brian himself has also helped create a tongue-in-cheek YouTube video - a reworking of the 'Badger Badger' viral cartoon first uploaded in 2008.

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Defra say there is a 'significant reservoir of infection' (of tuberculosis) in badgers, and that a 'carefully-managed policy of badger control' is the way forward.

But 'Save Me' campaigners insist culling badgers would be ineffective in tackling TB.

Brian argues that badgers can be vaccinated, and has launched a petition which has been signed by a whopping 219,000 since last September.

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The opposition is backed by more official bodies too - Gloucestershire County Council officially lodged their objections last week.

Brian previously stated he would rather be remembered for his animal rights work than his music.


'It would be a good way for me to check out', he added.

'I can't do it by myself, but I can cast a pebble in the water and hope things will be different in the future.

'I used to think making music was enough to change the world, but there are certain issues where you just have to get your hands dirty.

'Being cruel to people is one thing because they have a voice, but children and animals can't fight back - so we have to give them a voice.'

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