… BRIAN MAY CLAIMS
SEE SOAPBOX FOR BRIAN’S FULL STATEMENT
22 Aug 2013 by Rosa Silverman
Attacking the RSPCA for bringing animal cruelty prosecutions is like arguing that paedophiles should not be put on trial, the Queen guitarist Brian May has suggested.
The musician and animal rights campaigner claimed that the only difference between critics of the charity and child abusers was that in RSPCA cases “the creatures involved are non-human.” He also warned that implementing a badger cull could ultimately lead to a return of the Dark Age practice of burning supposed witches at the stake.
May, 66, launched a broadside against “the Countryside Alliance, elements of the National Farmers Union, elements of the press and media and elements of the very Government of this country” after criticism of the RSPCA over its political agenda.
Clarissa Dickson Wright, the cook and countryside campaigner, yesterday urged people to stop donating to the charity until it returns to helping domestic animals and abandons its “threatening policies.”
There have also been calls for the RSPCA to be stripped of its prosecutor role following allegations, which it denies, that it has increased the number of cases brought to court so as to boost fundraising.
But May, who is a vice-president of the charity, accused its critics of “nothing less than a vicious, calculated attempt to discredit the RSPCA and destroy its powers to prevent cruelty to animals.”
He said in a statement today: “Imagine, for a moment, that the NSPCC succeeded in a prosecution against a team of child abusers. Imagine if elements of the press, in reporting the prosecution, neglected to report that justice had been done, but instead accused the NSPCC of recklessly spending its money, letting down its supporters, breaking its charter and being politically motivated in its behaviour. Imagine if a bunch of child abusers then banded together to spread vile propaganda against the NSPCC, its officers, and the very children that were abused. This terrible scenario is exactly what the RSPCA is being subjected to, the only difference being that the creatures involved are non-human.”
The charity’s detractors were “pro-cruelty”, he claimed, and formed a small but powerful group of rich, well-connected and “utterly ruthless” people. He also suggested that the true motive of supporters of the planned badger cull was to bring back “the despicable blood sports” of fox hunting, hare coursing, and stag hunting, which were outlawed by the Hunting Act of 2004.
Killing badgers “under the dishonest pretext of ‘vermin control’” would set “the value of every wild mammal at zero”, thus paving the way for the return of “these appallingly cruel pursuits,” he argued. “There is no reason to suppose that it would stop there,” he added. “We may see a return to legalised badger-baiting, bear-baiting, and even the burning of supposed witches at the stake. This is the crossroads.
“Britain at this point either allows (Prime Minister David) Cameron’s government to propel us back into the Dark Ages of barbarism, or we all stand up and cry “No!” No return to the despicable pursuits of the privileged few in the name of tradition, or hidden under the entirely bogus claim of ‘control’.”
Dickson Wright, the Two Fat Ladies star, said yesterday that the RSPCA had “lost its way” and now “leaves a bitter taste in the mouth” as it pursues prosecutions against people it suspects of animal cruelty.
Her comments followed the refusal by the Archbishop of Canterbury to take up the role of vice-patron of the charity, ending decades of Church leadership of the organisation.