Brian May joins clean boot hunt – Press coverage


Brian joined The Three Counties Bloodhounds for a “clean boot” hunt today – and reported in the media.
Queen’s Brian May in Swansea for’ humane bloodhound hunt
26 December 2019

MAILONLINE 26 December, 2019
Brian May joins Boxing day hunt alongside family of bullied teenager, 14, who took his own life

THE SUN 27 December 2019
Queen legend Brian May poses with fans at animal-friendly Boxing Day hunt
Queen legend Brian May joins Boxing Day ‘clean boot’ hunt in Swansea
26 December 2019


Queen legend Brian May spent his Boxing Day morning in Swansea as he travelled down from London in the early hours of the morning to show his support to a “humane hunt”.  The lead guitarist was in Wind Street to be on hand for the Three Counties Bloodhounds’ annual Clean Boot hunt, which has been taking place for the last four years.

Instead of chasing a fox, riders on horseback and a team of hounds chase a human runner over a predetermined route in a legal, cruelty-free event that is seen by some as the legitimate future of hunting.

A leading animal rights campaigner, the 72-year-old founded the Save Me Trust in 2010 and among its missions since has campaigned against Government attempts to repeal or dis-empower The Hunting Act of 2004.

After having a quick drink at No Sign Wine Bar, he followed the start of the hunt, being led by Byron John, on a horse and trap, waving to the cheering crowds who lined the streets to get a glimpse of the event.

— May told WalesOnline:

“There was a moment of hesitation because we have been working on opposing the hunting of creatures for cruel sports and we had to be very sure that’s what was not happening here.

“As soon as we met Byron, you just have to look at this man’s face and into his eyes and you realise he’s a humane man and also a very brave man because he’s breaking away from a tradition at the same time as supporting a tradition of horsemanship and country sports. He is a leader.

“We felt we should support him because this is the future and the acceptable humane face of hunting. It’s cast iron. There is no doubt. There are no dogs being trained with fox scent or questionable activities going on here.

“There’s a lot of shameful things going on and a lot of dishonesty out there and this is about honesty and humaneness and also not being a spoil sport, because this is great sport.

“It’s wonderful. I really wish I did ride myself, I never had that pleasure, there weren’t any horses where I was brought up, sadly. One of my daughters used to ride and she’s hoping to come down next year with Byron’s permission, but all we can do is come down here and support.”

Mr [Dr] May described it as a “process of education.”

Byron John and Brian May
The Queen guitarist Brian May is pictured alongside Byron John, the Master of the ‘clean boot’ hunt – (Image: Johnathan Myers – Walesonline)
Inside No Sign Bar by Jonathan Myers
People inside No Sign Bar hoping to catch a glimpse of Brian May ahead of the hunt – (Image: Johnathan Myers – Walesonline)
Brian May gives thums up to the crowd - by Jonathan Myers
Brian May gives a thumbs up to the crowds who lined the streets to see the start of the hunt – (Image: Jonathan Myers – Walesonline)

“Our people were suspicious of us joining Byron, but now you look at our social media and everyone gets it and the idea is very concrete in everyone’s minds now,” he said.

“This is humane and the other kind of hunting is not. You have to keep telling it as it is for a while before people accept it. We would like to see the countryside retain its traditions in a way that is justifiably morally.

“There are a lot of traditions which have to be given up after a while – like burning witches at the stake. Tradition is not really a justification to carry on doing what you’re doing but you can adapt those traditions and still give people what they want – horse riding and husbandry of the dogs is a wonderful thing, it’s a great tradition.

“These, of course, are blood hounds and not fox hounds. Everybody has a lot of fun, and the result is a man gets licked.”

Speaking about the Gower Project he launched last November, aimed at eliminating bovine TB from land in the area with the aim of saving cattle and badgers, Brian said:

“Like everything else, it’s bumpy.  We’re on course and we’re hoping to be a part of a scheme to rid the Gower of TB and of course we now have a huge amount of new evidence from our project team that TB can be eradicated from farms without killing any wildlife. 

“TB is not being eradicated by the conventional strategy of the government. Culling badgers will never solve the problem. Whereas attention to slurry and hygiene on the farm and identifying the channels through which the infection passes will in fact solve the problem.”

Acknowledgement to Walesonline