Livestock

Brian May accused of politicising badger cull debate

Thursday 30 August 2012 09:40
Queen star Brian May

The NFU has accused rock star Brian May of politicising the badger cull debate and ignoring the animal welfare issue.

The Queen guitarist prompted an angry response from the NFU following an article he wrote in the Mail on Sunday on 26 August.

In his article, Mr May labelled himself a Conservative, but said he would never vote for David Cameron's party because of the cull.

He said the cull was a "nasty kind of Conservatism" that was "being pursued on the pretext of 'doing something' about the problem of bovine TB".

"Nevertheless, Cameron, agriculture minister Jim Paice and environment secretary Caroline Spelman cling to this appalling policy," he added.

Mr May pleaded for support "to stop Cameron's bloody plan for badger butchering".

"His comments are a diversionary sideshow from the real issue, which is trying to eliminate a crippling disease from an animal welfare and disease control perspective."
Ian Johnson, NFU

Responding to the claims, Ian Johnson, NFU spokesman for the South West, said: "Mr May's message was designed to pressure Conservative politicians and tell them he would not vote for them if they did not do what he wanted.

"His comments are a diversionary sideshow from the real issue, which is trying to eliminate a crippling disease from an animal welfare and disease control perspective.

"Regrettably the only way to reduce this distressing and costly disease in the worst-affected areas is by culling badgers. Vaccinating badgers alone will not work.

"Mr Cameron and other politicians quite rightly will do what is right, legal and scientifically justified and proven across the world as being the only solution."

Meanwhile, the Badger Trust has been granted permission to appeal against a judge's decision to allow badger culling trials in England. The hearing is due to take place at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, 11 September.

The two pilot culls, scheduled to begin in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset this summer, will now be delayed until autumn at the earliest, pending the outcome of the case.

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