Queen guitarist and animal welfare campaigner, Brian May, will travel to Brussels today to campaign for a change in European regulations which would allow vaccination of cattle in the fight against Bovine TB.

May will be in Brussels with the RSPCA Chief Executive, Gavin Grant, and will meet a range of decision-makers and influencers, including the senior officials in the Environment and Agriculture directorates general of the European Commission, senior British MEPs and the British Vice-President of the European Parliament.

This is the latest step by May as front-person in the hard fought campaign to prevent the implementation of the badger cull given the go-ahead by the UK Government, which has already seen licences granted for the slaughter of badgers in test trials in the UK countryside, and which May and fellow anti-cull partners vigorously oppose.

May said, “We are all focussed on the battle to eradicate bovine TB. What is absolutely clear from the available scientific evidence is that vaccination of cattle and badgers, along with bio-security and movement controls in the farming industry, is the only way to make meaningful progress. We believe this is where the Government and the National Farmers Union should be directing their attention, rather than on a scientifically flawed and ethically unjustifiable cull of badgers, which has been sold to the farmers as a solution, but in fact cannot even begin to solve their problems, and may well make matters worse.”

The Team Badger campaign, which was launched in London last month as a partnership between all of the UK’s leading animal welfare NGOs, has continued to gather momentum. On Tuesday 9th October, the petition to stop the cull, on the Government’s e-Petitions website, surpassed the 150,000 mark.

Anne Brummer, Chief Executive of the Save Me Campaign, said, “When DEFRA Secretary Owen Paterson told the Conservative Party Conference that the cull would not be “knocked off course by a few extremists” he was actually referring to more than 150,000 of the people he should be representing. This cull is beyond doubt enormously unpopular with the public, who correctly perceive it as a tragic mistake.

“The people have sent a message to the Government that this cull should stop. We now need to have that debate in Parliament based on the available scientific evidence, and without recourse to wild extrapolations. If the Government have any respect for democracy at all, they will ensure that not a single badger is harmed until that debate has taken place.”

Gavin Grant, Chief Executive of the RSPCA, said, “We need urgent action from the European Union to help our cows, badgers and embattled dairy farmers. The European Commission must meet its own 2014 deadline to approve a cattle vaccine and endorse the DIVA test that differentiates between infected and vaccinated cows. Members of the European Parliament must press for the resources to make this happen.

“UK MPs of all Parties must now stand-up and be counted. Parliament should reject the cull and back vaccination. The UK Government must be led by science and respect the people. Let Parliament speak for good science and the well-being of our fellow creatures.”

The badger cull is opposed by a growing number of animal welfare organisations, including RSPCA, Save Me, Stroud 100, Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, Animal Aid, Network for Animals, International Fund for Animal Welfare, League Against Cruel Sports, Humane Society International/UK, The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Blue Badger, Born Free, Peta, and RSPB.


Wednesday 10th October 2012