Queen guitarist Brian May joins badger patrols in Newent as cull debate hots up


15 September 2014 by Maryam Qaiser

Brian with Newent Patrol

Brian May joined Wounded Badger Patrols

BADGER cull protesters in the Forest of Dean were given a boost this week when Queen guitarist Brian May visited a group preparing to go out on patrol. May – a figurehead for the anti-cull campaign – spent an hour with more than 20 cull opponents near Newent on Monday night to show his support as they set to go out on a wounded badger patrol. The former Queen guitarist, 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.

His visit was the first of two to cull zones this week with the musician also spending time yesterday in Somerset – the only other county in England to be undertaking a cull in a bid to eradicate the spread of bovine TB into cattle.

Speaking to the Citizen in Newent, he said:

I am here to show support to these people who have given up their time. I am very disappointed with culling. Last year was a disaster in every way. Culling is inhumane and it needs to be stopped. Those who cull, are going out doing the same thing, but are expecting different results. I think killing is not the solution. I don’t think culling will stop until the Government is removed. It is a tragedy, some people do not respect animals and they think humans are more important.

Last year’s cull in Newent was illuminating. It was a peaceful patrol with peaceful people. I really feel strongly about culling and something needs to change.

Marion Oakley travelled from Kent to take part in the patrol. She said: “We need to stop culling and look at vaccinations. Many places, including Wales, have used this method and it has reduced TB by 50 per cent. It costs more to cull than it does to vaccinate badgers. I recently went to a demonstration in London and a lot of awareness about culling was raised around the world.”

A spokesman from Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting said: “We are delighted to welcome Brian May back to support us on patrol in the cull zone.

Ultimately whatever our efforts in the media and in the courts, it all comes down to boots on the ground. That’s why we and all the other groups and individuals involved are out every night, saving every badger we can from this pointless, irrational slaughter.”

However, NFU Gloucestershire County chairman, Andrew Guest said: “I am disappointed with the badger patrols. Farmers going out there come rain or shine to put food on the nation’s table. It seems a shame that people come from outside the area cause a bit trouble and then head back and live their sweet lives.”

No arrests relating to the cull have been made in Gloucestershire so far.