Pictures: Brian May visits badger cull zone in Somerset


16 September 2014 by Scott Harrison

Brian May has paid an overnight visit to the controversial badger cull zone in Somerset.

Bri and Somerset Badger Patrol

Brian May with members of the Somerset Badger Patrol

Bri and Somerset Badger Patro

Bri and Somerset Badger Patrol

Bri and Somerset Badger Patrol

More photos HERE

The Queen guitarist and vocal badger cull opponent was flanked by members of the Somerset Badger Patrol during his appearance last night and this morning at the opponents’ adopted home, dubbed Camp Badger.

Mr [Dr] May, who founded the Save Me Trust in 2010 to campaign against the possible repeal of the Hunting Act, has long argued against the controversial culls.

A spokesman for the patrol said this morning: “As the second week of the Somerset badger cull gets under way, we are so pleased that Brian was able to come last night and meet us at Cleeve Abbey, near Washford. It has given us a great morale booster. The first week seems to have been very quiet but we’re expecting to hear more shooting as the days go by. However, we are determined to keep walking the footpaths both night and day to maintain our peaceful opposition to the badger cull which, as we all know, the Government seems determined to keep as secret as possible. So much is still unknown not least the cost of the culls so far.

“Now, without an Independent Expert Panel’s assessment, the Government has lost whatever shred of scientific credibility it had at the beginning of all this and thanks to all our members, we are resolved to be the eyes and ears on the ground to keep this issue alive,” they continued. “The Government doesn’t seem to care whether these badgers are killed humanely and they certainly don’t care about testing them for TB which begs the question, why don’t they care about our wildlife?”

Prior to his visit, Mr May issued a statement with the Save Me Trust, which read: “It is fantastic that these people are out at night to patrol and take care of any wounded badgers. Badgers are very intelligent with the same emotional level and pain capacity as our very own pet dogs. Many of the wounded will be cubs just a few months old and we wanted to say thank you to these amazing people who are protecting them. We do not support the cull and are advocating vaccination… It is a realistic approach that is both affordable and achievable. It seems the public are with us, as this rates as the fifth most important issue on a MORI poll of MPs.”

Mr May and members of the Save Me Trust were also due to visit a similar camp in Gloucester, the only other county in England to be undertaking a cull in a bid to eradicate the devastating spread of bovine TB into cattle.

The Environment department, Defra, claimed that England now has the highest incidence of bovine TB in Europe and said “doing nothing is not an option”.

A spokesman said the eradication policy represents a “comprehensive strategy, including tighter cattle movement controls, vaccinations and culling. Culling has worked in other countries and leading vets agree that it needs to be part of our strategy in England,” the Defra spokesman added. We have always been clear that the Independent Expert Panel were asked to assess the first six weeks in the first year of the culls only.”

Defra also said there was “good evidence” that a third of badgers in TB hotspots have the disease. “We do not have a reliable test to identify infected badgers from healthy ones,” a spokesman added.