Brian will be on the ITV1 daytime chat show 'Loose Women' next Thursday at 12.30pm.
Brian May presented 2012 @IFAWUK Awards Tueday 23 October at a reception at the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Gale.
Animal Action Week winner, Haatchi and his owner Owen, with Queen guitarist Brian May, IFAW UK Director Robbie Marsland and other VIPs.
There is always a certain amount of stress and pressure as the International Fund for Animal Welfare UK office finalises preparations for our annual Animal Action Awards ceremony at the House of Lords. After months of sifting through nominations and the difficult job of picking around a dozen unsung heroes of animal welfare to travel to London for the prestigious ceremony, we also need to juggle the diaries of celebrities, other VIPs and politicians to make sure the event runs as smoothly as possible and that our hard-working winners enjoy their special moment – for many it is their first day off away from animal care in many years, or even decades for some, and we want to make it as memorable as possible. But despite the best laid plans, sometimes the unexpected can happen.
This year, our ceremony was delayed when our celebrity presenter had to dash off for a while – but when I told our assembled audience why, no-one minded at all, in fact they cheered and clapped. The reason was, we heard this morning that the UK Government was due to make an important announcement on the planned badger cull at 12.30pm today – the exact time our ceremony was due to start.
Given that our awards were being presented by Queen legend and campaigner Brian May, this posed a potential problem. Brian is the public face of the very high-profile campaign against the planned cull of thousands of British badgers. IFAW is among many other animal welfare groups standing together on the issue as part of Brian’s Team Badger coalition. So it was only right and fitting that Brian should dash out from our ceremony to hear the Government’s statement in the House of Commons. Fortunately this was only next door, so our winners and guests were happy to patiently wait half an hour or so, particularly when we were able to tell them that the announcement concerned a delay in the start of the cull until next summer.
We [IFAW] will of course continue to fight plans for this cruel and unnecessary cull of an icon of British wildlife until they are shelved completely. But in the meantime, we were then able to get on with the business of honouring our award winners.
This year’s winners included young vet Vikki Fowler, from Lancashire, for rescuing and rehabilitating neglected horses and Julie Hinks from Hampshire, who cares for and rehomes tortoises, many of which are rescued after being smuggled into the UK illegally.
Also honoured was former Olympian Fiona Oakes, from Essex, who runs a sanctuary for 400 rescued animals, 365 days a year without having taken a holiday or even gone for a meal out in 16 years. Sadly Fiona could not attend in person due to an emergency at her sanctuary.
We also honoured Kate Williams, a volunteer pet foster carer with Bolton-based Paws for Kids, which provides specialised support for women and children pet owners in the North West who are fleeing domestic violence. Helen Griffiths, from Dorset, received an award for her tireless rescue of animals, particularly dogs, over the last 20 years, while Grace Yoxon, from the Isle of Skye, was recognised for her global work in otter conservation.
Campaigner of the year award went to Lorraine Platt from Surrey for her work encouraging Conservative Party members to speak out in favour of the UK ban on hunting with dogs and other animal welfare issues through ‘The Blue Fox: Conservatives Against Fox Hunting’. Sheila Stewart from Mold, North Wales, received an animal rescue award for rescuing thousands of birds and animals over more than 30 years. An international campaigner award was given to Sigursteinn Masson, for his work publicly opposing whaling and encouraging whale conservation in his native Iceland.
And finally, there was hardly a dry eye in the house as this year’s animal of the year award was announced. It went to Haatchi, an Anatolian shepherd dog who suffered horrific injuries after being tied to a railway line and hit by a train. Haatchi survived the amputation of a rear leg and his tail and was adopted by Colleen Drummond, her fiancé Will Howkins and his seven-year-old son Owen, in Hampshire. After forging an amazing friendship with Owen, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, the family decided his gentle nature would make him an ideal Pets as Therapy dog to work with amputee soldiers and seriously ill children.
Listen to AUDIO HERE
Brian was on Radio this lunchtime on Swansea Sound, approx 12.10, promoting his and Kerry's Tour and forthcoming "Born Free" single
Listen out for Brian on local radio near you - we will post details of any transmission information as we get it.
Brian says that 12" picture disc of "Born Free" will be out at Christmas.
Listen to AUDIO HERE
Dallas, TX - Oct 29, 2012. North American syndicated Rock radio show InTheStudio:
The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands celebrates QUEEN’s 1977 classic News Of The World featuring perhaps the two most recognized Rock anthems in history. “We Will Rock You” and “We are the Champions” are the opening songs to QUEEN’s sixth studio album and instantly became fan favorites as well as centerpiece songs played at most stadium sporting events throughout the past 35 years.
Brian May recalls to InTheStudio host Redbeard how Queen’s singer Freddie Mercury envisioned those songs to be and why that spirit continues today.
“He (Freddie) could already see how it would be, if we played it in a concert and everyone had their hands in the air and we sang “We Are The Champions”. And I could see that’s what it’s about. Years later we talked about it and he said to me, ‘Rock‘n’Roll is the only place where everybody has a feeling of like being on a team, but you’re not fighting anybody.’ It’s like if you’re at a game you have two sides who are singing their songs and feeling very much part of a team, but they all want to kill the other side. The difference at a rock concert is, everybody’s in the same team."
Please note: the interview with Brian May dates back to 1993.
Duo’s version of “Born Free” is available in 3 formats Monday November 5, 2012
Coinciding with the start of their forthcoming UK concert tour, Brian May and Kerry Ellis are to release a new single, their version of Born Free, the Oscar-winning song written for the 1966 film.
The single is being released to support the work of the Born Free Foundation, the global organisation which works to protect and conserve threatened species.
The single was recorded by Brian and Kerry having seen the work of the foundation at the Shamwari game reserve and rescue centre in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, and for their version, writer Don Black has specially re written some of the song’s original lyrics for Brian and Kerry.
Available in three formats, the single is a digital only release and is available Monday November 5, the day May and Kerry Ellis start their 11-date Born Free Tour with a concert at The Apex in Bury St. Edmunds.
In a departure from their more recent rock shows, the tour sees May and Kerry Ellis present a unique series of intimate and totally acoustic shows performed under candlelight.
The two will perform a new collection of their own personal favourite songs as well as new arrangements of some of those they have previously performed in concert and recorded together, sung by Kerry with Brian accompanying her on both guitar and vocals.
Having recorded both a large-scale production version and an acoustic version of Born Free, Brian and Kerry will release both versions, with all proceeds going to the Foundation. A third version will also include a video filmed during their South African visit.
Brian May & Kerry Ellis Born Free Concert dates:
Stopping the badger cull was on a par with playing guitar on the roof of Buckingham Palace, Brian May tells The House
But the pain is worth it. The Queen guitarist was in Westminster to watch as the Government announced a delay in the planned badger cull. It felt, he says, “like a day that lasted a week.”
For years, May has been at the forefront of the campaign against the cull, arguing – along with a coalition of scientists, animal rights campaigners and even some farmers – that a badger cull was not a sensible way to tackle Bovine TB, a disease carried by badgers. And Tuesday's announcement by Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, that plans for a cull were on hold was, May says, one of the greatest days of his life. Not bad for a man who has played to sold-out stadiums, on the roof of Buckingham Palace, and written some of the most successful and popular records of the last 50 years.
“You know, it was quite comparable”, says May of Tuesday’s momentous events. “That moment will live on in my memory. It’s on a par with some of the great moments in my life. Standing on the roof of the Palace was one of them, and yesterday, watching the fruition of the belief that the people can still speak and make a difference, that was a very big moment for me. I was part of that moment in history. I’ll treasure that moment for a long time.”
An animal welfare campaign is far removed from power-chord-driven anthems like We Will Rock You, let alone the camp operatics of Bohemian Rhapsody. So what do his fellow Queen members think about his alternative career path?
“Well, it doesn’t come up very much,” May replies. “Freddie [Mercury] has gone of course. And I never see John [Deacon], sadly. Roger [Taylor] is in a sense in a different place because he’s part of the whole grouse shooting community, which is actually quite hard for us. We’re grown ups and we tend to treat the matter lightly so that we can remain friends, which we do and we’re quite good at respecting each other’s positions. It’s a very separate activity from anything that happens inside Queen.”
But it is one which May, who on Tuesday watched events unfold in Parliament itself, sitting in the public seats at the back of the Chamber, passionately believes in. At the forefront of the Team Badger campaign, May has worked tirelessly to secure 100,000 signatures to force a Parliamentary debate on the subject, which may have had a part in triggering Tuesday's announcement. “To me it was incredibly exciting to be sitting on one of those green seats. It was actually thrilling. Particularly, I was learning that those badgers were going to get a reprieve” May recalls, explaining that Thursday’s Opposition Day debate on the cull is still a crucial part of the process – even he admits that he is not sure what its immediate effect will be.
“I’m not clever enough to know that”, says May, who has a PhD, modestly. “I don’t understand the workings of Parliament – I’m learning fast. All I know is that it’s very important this debate has come about. It’s raised it to the level of national concern. I found it shocking that a Prime Minister can invade Iraq without asking anybody, and can go out and slaughter a huge percentage of our indigenous wild animals without asking anybody. These to me are shocking parts of democracy. There had to be a debate in the House and I am very pleased that there is. In a way I think that’s the most important thing of all, the fact that it is being debated.”
For May, the issue goes further than merely saving the badgers of Britain. “It’s thousands of badgers but a very big principle” he argues. “The principle that is being established is the public do put a value on creatures other than humans. If this particular Government had got away with just setting their value at zero then that would have been a terrible precedent. An important process is going on. We are seeing a change, a shift in the wind.”
But despite the inevitable accusations of yet another Government U-turn, Owen Paterson stressed that he remained “convinced” of the logic of the cull, and once a string of excuses – including the Olympics, bad weather, and over-breeding – had been listed, insisted that the cull would take place in the future.
But May is in positive mood. “I’m not ungrateful, put it that way. I could have been doing the whole day yesterday, doing media like I did, with badgers already falling on the ground, blood dripping out of them, being piled up in heaps, in their thousands. That would have been so depressing.”
May starts from the moral argument that it is wrong – “wrong in capital letters” – to kill hundreds of thousands of wild animals, arguing that the solution is akin to “saying we’ve got thousands of babies with Diphtheria so let’s go out and kill lots of them. It’s just insanity”.
And he is convinced, as many scientists are too, that developing a vaccine for cows is by far the more logical approach. “I’m a scientist. I will be going back to that. I have no doubt... that vaccinating cattle is the aim which completely blows everything else out of the water.” And when the politicians cite delays, May just shakes his head. “If we were at war right now and defeating an invader meant that we had to deploy vaccines, it would happen over night. It’s all there. We have this technology, it just needs to get through the red tape to be deployed. This makes me angry listening to [David] Cameron and Paterson saying its years away. That’s gross irresponsibility. We could be already in the process of getting the OK from Europe, and I do not believe that Europe will stand in our way. That has been an excuse that’s been used for too long by successive governments”.
May wants to “head towards a trial, a proper trial, and I think that would head us in a very healthy direction for the first time in 30 years as regards bovine TB.” So it’s not surprising that May remains deeply unimpressed with the “obsessed” Paterson’s commitment to the cull. “It makes very little sense listening to him. I think in his mind it certainly is just a delay. To me he is a very unusual kind of human being. I don’t think he is accessible to reason. I don’t think he would ever have changed his mind on this even if it were proved to him that killing badgers would cause him to die. You know, I don’t think there’s any way of changing that man’s mind. He’s one of those people who has a different agenda and it’s very deep.”
Fittingly for a man who has a PhD in astrophysics, May turns to H G Wells for an analogy of Tuesday’s dramatic events.
“I was thinking of the War of the Worlds. The whole of the planet united in a magnificent way to try and defeat these creatures but in the end what defeated them was their inner weakness that they couldn’t cope with bacteria on this planet. Yes, the whole country actually did rise up. In the end Paterson had all of science against him, just about all of the people in Britain, a large percentage of the farmers too, even the farmers in the hot spots, but in the end what defeated him was the inadequacy of the policy.”
In a damning criticism, May doesn’t believe “there will ever be such an animal unfriendly Government again in future times”, citing Conservative Party plans to overturn the Hunting Act as evidence.
So would he re-enter to the campaigning fray if fox-hunting returned to the heart of the political agenda? “Oh absolutely” he replies without hesitation. “In fact we’re actually campaigning against the repeal of the Hunting Act the whole time. It’s very much in our mind. We have to be very vigilant. Yes I would absolutely be jumping into the ring again if there was a hint that the Government was going to bring up the repeal of the Hunting Act again.”
May insists he is “completely non-aligned” politically, believing that animal welfare should be a cross party issue. “I’m not a party member and I don’t intend to be,” he adds. But if, say, a rural seat in an area particularly affected by any future cull became available, could he stand as a single issue MP?
“I don’t know enough yet to answer that question”, May replies, intriguingly. He admits that “in a strange way, intellectually I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Parliamentary process”, but adds that “at the moment I don’t think I could be an MP. I think that I would have to sacrifice too much to do that”.
But in the future? “I believe there should be a Minister of Animal Welfare. There used to be and this Government doesn’t have one. We have this horrendous conglomeration called DEFRA... it’s completely controlled by farmers. .. completely one sided. It’s fundamentally corrupt, in a society that claims to be democratic, that there’s a section of sentient creatures that are not represented. That has to change. If there were a Ministry of Animal Welfare then perhaps I would look at that and I would like to take a part in that.”
Tuesday's statement was largely overshadowed at the top of the news agenda by a Commons select committee hearing into the Jimmy Savile scandal. May says he has been following developments “from a distance”– and with sadness, what with Queen having appeared on Top of the Pops in the Savile era.
“I do find it shocking. It makes me very sad. It affects the whole way that you perceive that period. Because that’s something, the music of that time, that we were connected with – we used to go to the old BBC centre as it is now, you know, the round building, for Top of the Pops every now and again, and for that moment you were part of that whole glitzy, glamoury… whatever it was, scene. I personally had no idea that anything like this was going on and I am truly deeply shocked. We will never be able to watch those old programmes without knowing this now. Something will be gone forever. But you know, I think it’s good that it comes up, we have to examine everything in society honestly.”
But if those memories of his musical career have been damaged, Brian May is positive that his campaigning career will reap rewards. So who is Brian May in 2012? Guitarist, musician, would-be politician, campaigner?
“I don’t know what I am anymore” he admits. “I’m a person who can get certain things done in unusual ways because I come from an unusual place. I believe I have enough information in my head now to fashion a plan. I have a belief that problems can be solved if you just use your loaf.”
For that, the badgers of Britain will be grateful – and totally understanding if Brian May wants a day off.
You can read the whole today's debate HERE.
Ron shares thoughts on Brian May and Eddie Van Halen in Hollywood
READ HANSARD REPORT OF THE DEBATE HERE
It follows a highly-charged debate led by backbenchers in the Commons.
Ministers want to hold a pilot badger cull in two areas of the south west next year because badgers spread tuberculosis to cattle.
In a non-binding vote, MPs rejected the policy by 147 votes to 28, calling instead for vaccination, improved testing and bio security.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told MPs it was "essential" the pilots go ahead next year and that they would be rolled out elsewhere if they were successful.
However, because the motion was tabled by backbenchers, it is not binding on the government.
The Ministerial statement in the Commons about the postponement of badger culling in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire and the subsequent discussion contained a series of oft-repeated half-truths about bovine tuberculosis (bTB).
Here is a short film from the RPS Awards in London earlier this year....
The Royal Photographic Society Awards 2012 - http://youtu.be/jG9fGnT-eOs
Here is some footage of Brian and the Saxby Award
Dr Brian May CBE winner of the Saxby Award 2012 - http://youtu.be/4Za6zQRPL4c
For achievement in the field of 3D imaging. Endowed by Graham Saxby HonFRPS, in appreciation of the benefits of 50 years membership of The Society.
Although best known as a founding member of Queen, Dr Brian May holds a lifelong passion for stereography and has assembled one of the most extensive and important collections of stereoscopic images in the world, which he has loaned to institutions as varied as the V&A Museum, London, and the Settle-based Gallery on the Green. He collaborated with Elena Vidal on A Village Lost and Found, a book on Thomas Richard Williams' stereoscopic cards. May designed and had manufactured his collapsible stereoscope, the OWL to be included with the book and gave new life to the London Stereoscopic Company, one of the most important in Victorian photography.
AP / BRANDON SUN
LONDON - Britain's government on Tuesday postponed a plan to kill thousands of badgers after protests from animal rights groups and concern over the plan's cost and effectiveness. Farmers had pressed for a badger cull because the creatures can spread bovine tuberculosis, a disease that can devastate herds and hurt farm revenues.
But the black and white burrowers have had high-profile supporters such as Queen guitarist Brian May, who campaigned against the cull that was to take place in the southwest of England.
The project is now to be put back until next year after a survey found almost twice as many badgers as previously thought — which dramatically raised the cost of the plan.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told lawmakers that the government remains committed to the idea.
Rocker and environmentalist May welcomed the reprieve, but said the cull should be scrapped altogether. "This is a scientifically flawed, ethically reprehensible, economically unjustifiable and reckless policy that needs to be abandoned, once and for all," he said.
Brian didn't appear on Daily Politics, but film of the item features here: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20067402
Rock star Brian May said badgers were cute and special to him as he explained about the sett in his garden and the family of animals he helped to feed.
The statement by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirming the postponement of the proposed badger cull contained a shameful series of evasions and errors in seeking to justify the killing of badgers and the impractical methods the Coalition proposes to use.
There is no evidence that the badger population has increased since the last estimate in 1997.
He claimed the Government had devised a much more effective culling method -- one that has never been tried and which they need pilot culls to test.
Britain enjoyed 20 years with about 1,000 cattle slaughtered annually. The number rose when testing was disrupted by BSE and foot and mouth, but for 16 years the industry stood out against pre-movement testing.
Ten times as many cattle are killed for diseases other than bovine TB. Compensation is paid for the TB-infected cattle, but not for the others.
Bovine TB is not currently spreading. In fact the number of cattle lost – and compensated for – has been falling from 2008 up to last year.
The disease is not being “left unchecked”. A new range of long-awaited and overdue farm-based measures have finally been announced for next year.
Marksmen shooting badgers at night will have to kill at least seven out of ten – but the Coalition has no idea how many badgers there are in the first place. Other species do not have to be culled to a specified minimum.
The problems for the farming industry remain unaffected by the statement. They are:
Best known for presenting The Sky At Night astronomer Patrick Moore has joined forces with none other than Queen guitarist Brian May and his right-hand-man Chris Lintott to write a new book, The Cosmic Tourist, which has now rocketed into book shops. The trio, who share a great passion in observing the night sky, spoke to The Huffington Post UK about what makes them tick.
Sir Patrick Moore is one of the longest running presenters of a TV show, but revealed he has no plans of retiring anytime soon. He also reiterated his belief that there is life outside our solar system. Close friend Brian May, disagrees, though. He said: "I doubt it. It's only recently that I've come to this conclusion, it's because even though there are billions of galaxies nobody knows how the first steps towards life happened in spite of all the incredible research that's been done. There's a massive gap between a simple organic molecule and an organism that can reproduce itself."
READ MORE HERE
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