12 December 2014 by Antonia Malloy
Brian May has expressed his disgust at an Oxfordshire radio’s poll to decide whether a pair of turkeys should live or die this Christmas. The Queen guitarist and well-known vegetarian made his views about Jack FM’s festive stunt clear on Twitter, after the station asked listeners to decide whether to “cook it or keep it” in reference to two birds named Sage and Onion.
Dr May told The Independent: “I don’t know all the context for this radio promotion, so I am willing to be corrected. I find this stunt intrinsically offensive, but of course choosing life or death for turkeys as well as all the other animals we eat is exactly what we do every day. I’m wondering if the people behind this are actually mindful of highlighting the cruelty involved and thereby making people think again about their eating habits – especially at Christmas time – a time, supposedly, of good will towards all creatures. Isn’t that what it is?!”
He went on: “Let’s work on the idea of a cruelty-free Christmas. It’s never too late to start. I’ll certainly not be responsible for the death of a fattened bird this time around. And I’ll feel better for it. How about you?”
His is the most prominent voice among a chorus of repugnance and anger towards the poll, which is being overseen by morning show presenters Trevor Marshall and Caroline Verdon. Verdon wants to keep the turkeys, while Trevor wants to eat them.
The RSPCA has also asked Jack FM to rethink. Harriet Cawley, a spokeswoman for the RSPCA told the Oxford Times: “We do not see the entertainment value in killing an animal for this purpose. We would strongly urge the radio production team to rethink this stunt.” She added: “While we appreciate this is intended as a light-hearted festive feature the RSPCA opposes practices that have the potential to cause animals pain, suffering or death in the name of entertainment.”