Brian May told: butt out of badger battle
Activist: Brian May
Queen guitarist Brian May has been told to stay out of a debate over badger culling – because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
And National Farmers’ Union spokesman Ian Johnson has labelled the musician’s comments as “well-intentioned” but “not-helpful.”
May has long been an advocate of banning the mass killing of badgers. He recently spoke out in the UK press, trying to prevent a cull due to take place in Somerset and Gloucester in September.
He called the move a “particularly nasty kind of Conservatism,” adding it was “being pursued on the pretext of ‘doing something’ about bovine TB” while no link had been proven between badgers and the killer cow disease.
As a result, he continued, the cull was “disgraceful, tragic and pointless.” He added: “Prime Minister David Cameron, Agriculture Minister Jim Paice and Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman cling to this appalling policy. One can only assume they are pandering to a powerful farming leadership who helped elect them.”
May insisted that even the NFU supported the argument that killing badgers would not solve the tuberculosis problem.
But NFU man Johnson tells This Is Cornwall: “I don’t know where he’s got that from. It’s rubbish.
“This is not political. It’s an animal welfare issue. He should not be politicising the problem. Brian May is a well-intentioned, very rich, misguided person. His comments do nothing to help a rational debate about the problem.”
If the guitarist wants to help, says Johnson, “he should be getting involved with the scourge of TB that affects not just cattle, but other species too.”
Johnson also railed against May’s assertion that all farmers want to bring back fox hunting. “These comments are 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 doesn’t understand.”