13 December 2015 by Adam Hale
Brian May attends the Three Counties Bloodhounds meeting in Birchgrove, Swansea.
Rock legend and animal rights campaigner Brian May has said blood sports have “no place in Britain” as he called for the promotion of legal non-violent hunting. The Queen guitarist said more must be done to educate people about the “brutality” of hunting animals for sport as he attended a cruelty-free hunt in West Wales.
May was invited by hunt master Byron John to attend a “clean boot hunt” in Birchgrove, Swansea, where humans rather than animals are tracked down by a hunting pack.
Also known as drag hunting, the cruelty- free sport sees a human “runner” laid with a scent who is then tracked down by blood hounds.
May said the drag hunting was a “clean and legal alternative” to fox hunting , which was banned after the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004 by the last Labour government.
His animal rights group, “Save Me”, is opposed to Tory attempts to repeal the ban, and he said more must be done to educate the public about the “cruel nature” of killing for sport.
May said: “Drag hunting is something we’ve thought about for some time. Not many people know what they are, but basically there’s no killing involved. These hunters use blood hounds as opposed to fox hounds, and are raised to track human scent instead of dead animals. People think these hunters are murderers but in fact they’re moving away from blood sports. It’s a completely clean and legal alternative.”
May rubbished suggestions from animal rights group IFAW that such legal hunts were actually cover for illegal fox hunting, pointing to the type of dogs which were being used.
He said: “Drag hunting involves blood hound dogs who haven’t been raised to track foxes, only humans. It’s a completely different sport, and free of murder. I think IFAW are a little confused. Another type of legal hunt, trail hunting, does include dogs who are raised to track animals, so foxes can be inadvertently killed if they cross paths. I accept that, but this is different – these are honest people.” “I wish I could join in. But I grew up in a very poor background. We didn’t have access to horses, so it would be pretty stupid of me to try. My kids have learned, though,” he said.
May called for greater public awareness of the “cruel and brutal nature” of hunting animals for sport, and said he was hopeful more people would move towards alternatives like drag hunting in the future. He said less killing could only be a good thing for the British countryside and its wildlife. He said: “The countryside is a beautiful place, but it can also be a place of cruelty. If we can get rid of the cruelty then just imagine how much better it could be.”