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INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
Brian May and the badger cull: Science does not factor in parliamentary debate
24 March 2015 by Hannah Osborne, Ian Silvera, Video by Sabine Schwab
Guitar hero Brian May has said when it comes to scientific issues, parliamentary debate is lacking expert opinion – a point highlighted by the recent badger cull in parts of the UK.
Speaking to IBTimes UK, May said MPs need to learn more about the science behind specific issues when debating them.
“I think again there are some MPs who do take the trouble,” he said. “I think what’s lacking in parliamentary debates is an expert opinion. You watch people debating an issue like the badger cull and there was no one called to speak to the house who actually knows the subject and has spent their lives studying it. That’s wrong to me, you’re getting second hand opinions. Basically what’s going to happen is that at the end of the debate the whips are going to come in and get people to vote a particular way. It’s a foregone conclusion. Even if they don’t do that the government can ignore the result.”
May was speaking at the unveiling of the Common Decency campaign, which aims to encourage more people to vote while calling for reform of the UK’s political system. He said he would consider accepting a future peerage and sitting in the House of Lords, but ruled out running to become an MP: “I considered it but I think I can do a lot more good by being an activist as I am,” he explained.
The Queen guitarist spearheaded a petition to stop the badger cull in 2012, with his e-petition going on to become the most signed on the government’s website with 304,255 signatures.
“Independent scientific studies have shown that culling would be of little help in reducing bovine TB, and even suggests that it could make things worse in some areas,” the petition said. “We urge the government to stop the cull and implement the more sustainable and humane solution of both a vaccination programme for badgers and cattle, along with improved testing and biosecurity.”
The petition failed, however. Environment secretary Owen Paterson gave the go ahead to the Department of Food and Rural Affairs to push ahead with the cull in February 2013. The four-year cull resumed in Gloucestershire and Somerset in September last year. Just a few months later, further independent research was released suggesting testing cattle for bovine TB was 20 times more effective at controlling the spread of the disease than killing badgers.
Speaking about the parliamentary debate on the failed petition, May said: “You’re looking at people – you can see it in their faces, we saw it with the badger cull – they’re sort of lolling in their seats saying ‘oh well, we’re just going to carry on doing what we’re doing. It doesn’t matter about science, it doesn’t matter about public opinion. We’re just going to do it because of our own reasons.'”
Brian May wants you to vote for ‘decent’ candidates, not political parties – with video http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/entertainment/brian-may-wants-you-to-vote-for-decent-candidates-not-political-parties-668875.html
Western Morning News have written an article about Brian May launching his Common Decency Campaign. This can be viewed online via the link below:
International Business Times have interviewed Brian May about his Common Decency campaign. This can be viewed online via the link below:
The Salt Lake Tribune have uploaded an image of Brian May launching his Common Decency campaign in London. This can be viewed online via the link below:
WTVQ-DT have written an article about Brian May launching his Common Decency campaign in London. This can be viewed online via the link below:
Hollywood.com have written an article about Brian May launching his Common Decency Campaign in London. This can be viewed online via the link below:
FOX 34 News have written an article about Brian May launching his Common Decency campaign in London. This can be viewed online via the link below:
Binghamton Homepage have written an article about Brian May launching his Common Decency campaign in London. This can be viewed online via the link below: http://www.binghamtonhomepage.com/story/d/story/may-launches-political-campaign-group/14650/nrXLlJmcUEeOzV8RDO_o2Q
Yahoo News have taken quotes from the interview that Brian May did with the International Business Times about his Common Decency campaign. This can be viewed online via the link below:
BT have run an article about Brian May launching his Common Decency campaign. This can be viewed online via the link below:
Contact Music have written an article about Brian May launching his Common Decency campaign. This can be viewed online via the link below:
1) Videofootage from Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy’s most widespread financial newspaper. http://video.ilsole24ore.com/TMNews/2015/20150324_video_16011377/00030026-ex-chitarrista-dei-queen-lancia-campagna-decoro-per-elezioni-gb.php
2) Short video + small piece on “LaPresse”, an Italian newsagency much focused on foreign news.
Corriere Della Sera Newspaper – coverage anticipated in coming weeks.