24 April 2014 by James Chapple
Windlesham resident and legendary guitarist Brian May who founded the Save Me charity, spoke to Get Surrey ahead of Wildlife Rocks next month.
Brian May and Anita Dobson
“We’ll keep fighting day in, day out to combat those strong forces who want to perpetuate what is legalised abuse of our country’s most precious wild animals.” This is the message from legendary Queen guitarist and animal rights activist Brian May prior to the biennial Wildlife Rocks event in Guildford next month.
Windlesham resident Mr May founded the Save Me charity, which works closely with Surrey Heath’s Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue service to care for sick or injured wild animals and oppose threats to their health. The charity has been heavily involved in fighting controversial government badger culls, which an independent report revealed in February were ‘ineffective’ and ‘inhumane’. Mr [Dr] May said the gig on May 5 would focus on humanity’s ‘positive interactions; with animals.
Wildlife Rocks will feature The Troggs, Hawkwind and Katrina Leskanich of Katrina and the Waves, plus local talents NewQuay Times, Elvis Schmelvis and Phil Ram. There will also be talks by leading animal experts and advocates from, among others, the RSPCA and Born Free, plus a variety of activities for young people,
“It’s not a preachy event,” said Mr May, 66. “It celebrates our vital relationship with the animal kingdom, although I am looking forward to The Troggs – you can’t keep these old rockers down.”
Save me Save Me was founded in 2010 when the Conservative Party pledged to repeal the 2004 Hunting Act and allow what Mr [Dr] May described as ‘horrendous’ blood sports to resume in England.
“I don’t think people knew what Mr Cameron and his mates were up to,” he said. “It wasn’t a headline. Save Me aims to raise awareness of this foul promise. We have to be vigilant. Animals don’t have a voice. And while it’s rewarding to give them a second chance, some of the things you see are very tough.”
In September 2012, Mr May and Harper Asprey chief, Anne Brummer, launched Team Badger – a coalition determined to fight government badger culls in Somerset and Gloucester-shire, designed to reduce bovine tuberculosis (TB). An independent report commissioned by DEFRA and published in February following two culls late last year, found just shy of 1,800 badgers were culled, less than 50% of the target.
It also revealed up to 18% of the badgers may have taken more than five minutes to die, while the culls ended up costing in excess of £7m – nearly £4,000 per badger.
“It was quite appalling,” said Mr [Dr] May. “The truth of the matter is that bovine TB needs to be conquered through vaccination. These vindictive culls made scapegoats of Britain’s badgers. There is a small but vocal minority in government who want to keep animals in their place, people who think animals have no value outside market. It’s a frankly evil attitude, I’d go so far as to say that.”
A little closer to home, Mr[Dr] May added he was unaware of any confirmed cases of TB in Surrey’s badgers: “We have very healthy wildlife here. And we’re looking forward to telling everyone all about it on May 5.”
For event tickets and more information, visit the website.