brian's soapbox
DECEMBER 2013

EXPERT OPINION - LETTERS

 

As always, the opinions expressed in these pages are purely and personally those of myself, Brian; they are not the official views of Queen, or of any other organisation or individual.

Reference:
- Lame Claims
- Stereo and Freeview Notes

 

COPYRIGHT NOTE:
Please DON'T reproduce stuff from these pages without permission. And if you do, please give us credit (brianmay.com)!! and a LIVE link. `
Cheers ! Bri
- ALSO APPLIES TO FOREIGN SITES AND TWITTER


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**Tue 31 Dec 13**
ANOTHER KIND OF DIABLERIES
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[See also in LETTERS]

Ah … thanks Miguel. We're familiar with the Dia de Los Muertos .. and it is very akin to the spirit of the Diableries, I think.

I wasn't aware of Posada, though, unless Denis told me and I forgot !

This is great stuff … and I think it's true that familiarising ourselves with death, or at least what is inside us … is a healthy thing !

All the very best

And a Happy New Year !

Alternative diableries

Bri


Miguel Angel López Loredo wrote:

Hi Brian,

I've reading about your deep interest and work in the Diableries. Great, great work of art.

You may know that here, in Mexico, we celebrate dead in a very different way from Halloween. We have here the Dead Day. I was thinking that maybe you can find interesting this celebration, which have many many centuries of tradition in our country. This day is celebrated in very many different ways along the country, too many that I can't mention all, I'm afraid.

But it has some things in common, like the "calaveras" (Verses or improvisated songs making fun of the death), or the "papel picado" (poked paper, I'm sorry, the translation may lose some of the sense) which is art made out of paper with death-like themes, and representations of public figures, historic characters or so, in funny scenes, but represented as skeletons. This may sound a little macabre, but it's really very fun. Some anthropologists refer that making fun of death this way, may be a collective way to try to ignore that fear we all feel about death.

There was a graphic artist, at the beginning of the XX Century who produced many works about the Dead Day, Jose Guadalupe Posada, and I find his work very close to the Diableries ones, here's a Wikipedia article about him:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/José_Guadalupe_Posada

His creation "La Catrina" (The female dandy, or something like that), it's one of the most common illustrations you can see around the Dead Day in Mexico, and many of his works as well, the interesting point is that here, in Mexico, these works by Posada are still in our dinamic present each year, and the artists still produce their works in this way for this celebration.

I hope you can find this interesting.

Please have a very happy new year. Much love from all the Mexico fans.
Miguel López.


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**Tue 31 Dec 13**
PLEASE SUPPORT SENTINEL
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{Written early hours]

Please Support SENTINEL

http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=c7281b61ab362fadf221e16fc&id=f87128b43e

Did you know we have little idea what is out there on a collision course with Earth ?

Editor: Meet the Sentinel team HERE

---

Humbled by response to my 'health scare' getting on the news. Nothing new to report tonight but I am in good spirit.

Big Thanks
Bri

 

PS Brighton and Hove get it right. No Badger Slaughter.

THE ARGUS
Brighton and Hove City Council pledge to oppose badger cull
30 December

THANKS guys ! Bri

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**Mon 30 Dec 13**
THANK YOU FOR THE AMAZING MESSAGES
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{Written early hours]

I've been overwhelmed by the amazing messages you've been sending me, folks, since I wrote about my 'Health Scare'.

It's taken me by surprise - for many reasons. I really didn't realise how much you guys were gunning for me … it's great to know that, and I can't thanks you enough. It puts a smile on my face. But I didn't realise that biting the bullet and mentioning the "C" word would unlock such an avalanche. I now realise that so any of you have been wrestling with this all along, personally, or in family or friends, and, like me, found it hard to share. Hearing of your experiences, and courage, and hopes, and solutions, has been a massive eye-opener for me. Of course I've been very close to it before … notably in my dear Dad, and, as you can still read on this web site, with the amazing Vicky, who was probably the bravest girl I've ever known - some of her poetry and diary entries are here: VICKI'S WORLD.

I feel like I have a whole new understanding of the way people - all people - deal with frightening news, and move on into the next place. I know I won't be able to answer every message … but I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and I'm making a start on some replies now.

I'm going for another scan tomorrow [30 Dec] early, so I'll know more soon. Like I said, my specialist has given me permission to be optimistic ! Later on tomorrow I'll be working quietly on the art work for the DVD of Kerry and me in Montreux, and on our programme for the tour in February. Good stuff.

Cheers all … and I hope you're enjoying this 'limbo' time between Christmas and New Year. I find it … odd, these days - at the best of times !! But for little ones, it's a nice moment of quiet to enjoy your new toys with Mum and/or Dad - or … whoever !

Wishing you all Happy Moments.

Brian and Kerry

Bri

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**Sat 28 Dec 13**
SECRET SANTA SAYS HO HO HO !
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Ho ho ho ! Secret Santa strikes again !

Yes, it's the REAL Santa Claus, who took over while Brian May was too busy, out saving badgers.

Santa says Ho Ho Ho !
Photo by Katia, at the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road tonight (between shows - it's a cast party !)

Cheers

Bri

Secret Santa 2013

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**Sat 28 Dec 13**
SINISTER AND NASTY ? OH YES … THE DAILY TELEGRAPH !
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ha ha ha ha ! Sinister and nasty - in the opinion of the sinister and nasty Countryside Alliance !! Ha ! You gotta laugh !

The Torygraph spreading its nonsensical propaganda again …

THE TELEGRAPH
27 December 2013

Telegraph

Surely this has to be a Monty Python Upper Class Twits sketch? Sinister Sir Barney White-Spunner tells it like it is!

Bri

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**Sat 28 Dec 13**
DESMOND TUTU SPEAKS OUT ON ANIMAL RIGHTS
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Well, here already is something much more important than the vagaries of my health.

I've been consistently rebuked in the last couple of years for speaking about our treatment of other creatures in human terms, and daring to suggest that the same rules of decency should apply. I've been comparing the badger cull to the indiscriminate massacres of human beings in history, and likening the fight for justice for animals to the fight against slavery, and discrimination against women.

Now Desmond Tutu has spoken. I'm awestruck actually, because he is expounding the very same beliefs - and much more eloquently than I am able.

Desm,ond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the world's greatest fighters for justice and equality, and was a leader along, alongside Nelson Mandela, in the battle to rid South Africa of racial discrimination. I'm going to print Tutu's whole pronouncement here, and its context, because I believe this is one of the most important speeches ever made, and perfect to guide us in the New Year and beyond.

Please read carefully !

Love
-
Bri


PRESS RELEASE:

IMMEDIATE: 28 December 2013

We must fight injustice to animals as we do injustice to blacks, women and gays – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“I have spent my life fighting discrimination and injustice, whether the victims are blacks, women, or gays and lesbians. No human being should be the target of prejudice or the object of vilification or be denied his or her basic rights.

“But there are other issues of justice – not only for human beings but also for the world’s other sentient creatures. The matter of the abuse and cruelty we inflict on other animals has to fight for our attention in what sometimes seems an already overfull moral agenda. It is vital, however, that these instances of injustice not be overlooked.

“I have seen firsthand how injustice gets overlooked when the victims are powerless or vulnerable, when they have no one to speak up for them and no means of representing themselves to a higher authority. Animals are in precisely that position. Unless we are mindful of their interests and speak out loudly on their behalf, abuse and cruelty go unchallenged.

“It is a kind of theological folly to suppose that God has made the entire world just for human beings, or to suppose that God is interested in only one of the millions of species that inhabit God’s good earth,” says Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his forthright foreword to the Global Guide to Animal Protection to be published by the University of Illinois on 30 December.

In his first major statement on animal welfare Archbishop Tutu says “Our dominion over animals is not supposed to be despotism. We are made in the image of God, yes, but God – in whose image we are made - is holy, loving, and just. We do not honor God by abusing other sentient creatures.

If it is true that we are the most exalted species in creation, it is equally true that we can be the most debased and sinful. This realization should give us pause … There is something Christ-like about caring for suffering creatures, whether they are humans or animals.”

Global Guide To Animal ProtectionArchbishop Tutu concludes with his warm support for the Global Guide to Animal Protection and urges the reader to seek justice and protection for all creatures, humans and animals alike: “Churches should lead the way by making clear that all cruelty – to other animals as well as human beings – is an affront to civilized living and a sin before God.”

Desmond Tutu is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and won the Nobel Peace Prize for his anti-apartheid work. Nelson Mandela described Tutu as: "sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid and seldom without humour, Desmond Tutu's voice will always be the voice of the voiceless".

The Global Guide to Animal Protection is the result of collaboration between the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, a world-wide association of academics from all disciplines, and the University of Illinois Press. Raising awareness of human indifference and cruelty toward animals, The Global Guide includes more than 180 introductory articles that survey the extent of worldwide human exploitation of animals from a variety of perspectives.

In addition to entries on often disturbing examples of human cruelty toward animals, the book provides inspiring accounts of attempts by courageous individuals – including Jane Goodall, Shirley McGreal, Biruté Mary Galdikas, Bernard E. Rollin, and Roger Fouts – to challenge and change exploitative practices.

The volume is edited by Oxford theologian Professor Andrew Linzey. Linzey is a member of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Oxford and director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics (www.oxfordanimalethics.com). Coeditor of the Journal of Animal Ethics, he has written or edited more than twenty books, including Animal Theology, Animals on the Agenda: Questions about Animals for Theology and Ethics, and Why Animal Suffering Matters: Philosophy, Theology, and Practical Ethics.

The Global Guide to Animal Protection is published in both the UK and USA on 30 December and is available from www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/69wgp5qn9780252036354.html priced USD95 (cloth) and USD27 (paper). [Amazon]

ends

For more press information please contact Sam Calvert, Samantha Calvert Marketing & PR, sam@samcalvert.plus.com / +44 (0)1782 505430 / +44 (0)7967 042050 or Steve Fast, Publicity Manager for the University of Illinois Press, sfast@illinois.edu/ 217-244-4689. Review copies are available by contacting Steve Fast sfast@illinois.edu.

About the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, founded in 2006 by its director Professor Andrew Linzey, is an independent Centre with the aim of pioneering ethical perspectives on animals through academic, research, teaching and publication. The Centre has more than 70 Fellows drawn from a variety of academic disciplines from throughout the world. For more information about the Centre and its Fellows please see its website at www.oxfordanimalethics.com

About the University of Illinois Press
Founded in 1918, the University of Illinois Press ranks as one of the USA’s larger and most distinguished university presses. It publishes works of high quality for scholars, students, and the citizens of the state and beyond. The University of Illinois Press also published the Journal of Animal Ethics in partnership with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.
Copyright © 2013 Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
91 Iffley Road
Oxford, England OX4 1EG
United Kingdom


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**Sat 28 Dec 13**
BRI'S HEALTH SCARE
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So many of you folks have been kindly enquiring about my health, and I've been quietly evading. Usually I've tended to keep stuff like this private, because I didn't want it to be distracting. On tour with Kerry last time I wasn't acting not being able to walk, though I was larking about. I just wanted everyone to have a good time and enjoy and smile. Really I was in pretty bad shape, but nobody needed to know, and my wonderful knee replacement surgeon has pretty much fixed that.

However, along the way, 3 months after the surgery, somewhere in the rehearsals for the Las Vegas iHeart performance, I began to get bad pains in the backside. I thought my hip joint was going the same way as the knee. It's a long story since then, with various treatments, assuming the trouble was in the muscles readjusting; but finally it got really bad about 2 weeks before Christmas. So bad I had to give up on going anywhere if there was standing up involved. I'm telling the story now because I'm thinking it might be helpful to some folks out there who have similar experiences.

My GP decided to try to get to the bottom of it, and sent me for a set of MRI scans. Well, that's when it all became a "Health Scare" (something like a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream ...) The scans showed up all kinds of mechanical disc and vertebra problems that might be the cause of the pain, but there were also some abnormalities in the bones - things that the report said needed urgent attention. So around Christmas I've been having a succession of blood tests, ultrasounds, and various kinds of scans, to see if they could rule out various kinds of cancer.

Now, on hearing the "C" word something happens inside you … of course. I've seen so many of my dear friends fighting it … and my Dad lost his battle at age 66, exactly the age I am now. So over the last few days I've been in various states of unrest. But the great thing has been that the team my GP assembled to check out the possibilities has moved Heaven and Earth to gather all the information I need quickly over the Christmas period … not an easy time.

Well, rephrasing slightly, the REALLY great thing is that so far the tests have eliminated a lot of nasty things. My PET scan was today, and it felt pretty grim in there. But a few hours later I got a text from my specialist saying that he hadn't found any evidence of cancers in the tests so far. I have one more scan on Monday, but I'm beginning to feel cautiously optimistic. Of course we still don't know what those things on the MRI's are. But I'm hoping they are things that have been there for a long time and are not causing trouble. And the pain ? Well, discs or no discs, I am so lucky in having a son who is a brilliant Physio. Jimmy spent hours on me over the holidays, and really managed to give me a pain-free Christmas. So this says a lot. It says I feel a lot better ! But also it says that the pain was about muscles and nerves after all, and was not coming from whatever those strange things on my bones are.

So … I guess I'm still in the 'scare" scenario, but with good hopes. My specialist guys have also been really positive, reassuring me that if they did find anything in the "C" word category, it was almost certainly treatable with success.

So that's why I've been a bit quiet, folks. Thanks for your concern. I'm hoping that, by next week, I'll be thinking of other things.

Cheers !

Bri

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**Fri 27 Dec 13**
BOOK OF MORMON
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My respects to the company of The Book of Mormon. Awesome show last night [Thu 26 Dec].

Bri

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**Thu 26 Dec 13**
PS.... ON ANIMAL RIGHTS
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Anne has given me this quote from the lovely National Farmer Union ...

An NFU brief for Report Stage included that "As at least 17 million lambs are born every year in England and Wales, farmers can be forgiven for finding it hard to agree that the loss of some 340,000 of them to foxes at a cost to the industry of over £13.6million should be regarded as not significant."
The National Farmers Union (NFU)
Britain's biggest farming union

My farmer pals tell me that in reality, most of the lambs eaten by foxes have been stillborn (a scandal in itself … where is the care?) But even if that were not the case, and all these lambs were eaten by the wicked foxes - who ate the other sixteen and a half MILLION animals ? OH, yes, humans … and I guess that's OK, is it ? Eating lambs does not qualify US as pests that need to be destroyed by despicably cruel methods ?

Well, let's just remember that those farmers who are complaining about their animals being killed by our wildlife will kill EVERY ONE of those lambs to feed meat eaters, and to make a profit. Does that put things in perspective ?

Personally you couldn't pay me enough to eat a rubbery piece of a lamb's body. I used to be forced to eat it as a child, and it made me physically sick. It would still choke me now.

Isn't it time we started realising animals have feelings too, and rights - the right to a decent life and a decent death ?

One of my ambitions in 2014 is to reclaim the epithet 'Animal Rights'. I have realised in the last 3 years that most of the accusations against animal advocates have been trumped up … part of the incessant propaganda pumped out by the likes of the pro-cruelty Daily Telegraph. So we have all been cautiously talking about animal welfare, almost tacitly complying with the view that animal rights people are violent. I believe that all the violence is actually on the other side.

I believe animals DO have rights, just like the human animal, and on New Years day, I'll be restating that as a proposed foundation for our future work to banish cruelty from our country.

Animals DO have rights, and its time we recognised them.

Cheers

Brian

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**Thu 26 Dec 13**
DESPICABLE THEM
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For most of us, in 2013, it's hard to believe that anyone can derive pleasure from watching a pack of dogs savage a wild animal. Yet the reality is that Boxing Day will see hordes of men, and women too, on horseback doing just that. The brutal 'sport' of fox hunting continues to have adherents today, and, though since 2004 it has been illegal, by the end of today, the 26th December, many beautiful and innocent animals will have met their death in this barbaric manner. Membership of the Hunts is actually growing, and of course many people join just to have a brisk ride in the countryside on a Winter's morning, in a legal and humane drag hunt, in which no animals are torn apart. But it's estimated that, of the 300 hunt organisations in Britain, about 60 of them are still blood hunts, illegally, mercilessly, pursuing foxes to their pitiful deaths. And are they brought to justice ? Of course not, because we have a Government which supports fox hunting, along with all the other vile blood sports that were outlawed by the Hunting Act, 10 years ago. (We, Save-Me, tried to warn you !! )

Yes, our country is ruled by a bunch of fox hunting traditionalists, many in the Government itself, and many in the NFU - scandalously, the only commercial union that a British Government is obliged to consult. And boy, do they consult !

Yes, you will find in the quotes of David Cameron, Owen Paterson, and officials of the NFU, approval of the sport of fox hunting … and it is of course no coincidence that these are the very people who are clinging to a policy of killing Badgers when it's been shown beyond doubt that this is not in any sense justified by claims that it will eradicate bovine TB. It's astonishingly similar to the bogus claims that fox hunting is necessary for the 'control' of foxes, when it's well-known that the Hunts actually encourage the breeding of foxes so they can continue their sadistic games.

So, in 2014, this is what we will be fighting - the small but powerful pro-cull, pro-hunting, pro-cruelty community, who will be attempting to hang on to their supposed traditional rights to ride roughshod over any man or beast that gets in their way.

Let's be vigilant, and make 2014 the year when the decent people of this country took back their power - power to make Britain a country which proudly protects the rights of the poor and the sick, and those beings that have no voice of their own … children and animals.

Is it an impossible dream ? Only you can decide.

Brian May.

See also: DAILY MAIL Hold vote on hunting ban or we'll desert you, Tories told: Supporters' threat to party as 250,000 join traditional Boxing Day events across the country
- parading young, innocent children to prove a groundswell in Hunt support.

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**Thu 26 Dec 13**
COMET LOVEJOY
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Yes, I DID spend hours of my time creating a 3-D conversion of Damian Peach's magnificent portrait of Comet Lovejoy !

Here it is - for free-viewing two different ways - or to print out (use the top version) and put in an OWL !

Happy Boxing Day !

Bri

Comet Lovejoy by Damian Peach - stereo Brian May

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**Wed 25 Dec 13**
HAPPY !
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To all our readers !

Christmas skeleton staff


With love

Bri

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**Tue 24 Dec 13**
MERRY CHRISTMAS !
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Dear Folks.

Time ticks on. And it's that time.

Hope you all have a peaceful and bright Christmas out there.

Here's a wish in a picture …

… courtesy of my dear Pal Ms Tomaini who never fails to enchant. I am indebted to you, Chiara, always.

Merry Christmas - Chiara Tomaini

Merry Christmas all !!!

Bri
XXXX

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**Sun 22 Dec 13**
PATER-NOCCIO !
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Paternoccio

Guess who's working him ?

Gotta Love this !

Bri

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**Sun 22 Dec 13**
MY BOO'FUL CHRISTMAS PRESENT
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Christmas gift

My Christmas present from Jamie Cooper, framed. Wow! Boo'ful!

Wishing you a glorious year.

Bri

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**Sat 21 Dec 13**
DAVID RICHARDS RADIO INTERVIEW
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DAVID RICHARDS … Nice interview In two parts. Thanks Markus Wanner and Stuart Latham.

Bri

David Richards Interview (Part 1 of 2) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfNn2B3Gu-Y

 

David Richards Interview (Part 2 of 2) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJLm_x9ZWBk

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**Sat 21 Dec 13**
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE IEP (INDEPENDENT EXPERT PANEL)
ARBITERS OF THE BADGER CULL PILOT SCHEMES
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Badger Christmas
Badger Christmas – by Pat Williams

 

This is an open appeal to the gentlemen of the IEP – the Independent Expert Panel, currently assessing the humaneness, effectiveness, and safety of the recently aborted pilot badger culls in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

You, gentlemen, are the arbiters of decency in your assessment of this unprecedented action of the Government, killing badgers on a large scale, in the certain knowledge that it may make TB breakdowns worse rather than better in British cattle. You, and only you, stand between us and the ‘roll-out’ of wholesale senseless carnage the length and breadth of Britain. On behalf of over 300,000 British citizens, we ask that the IEP take a broad, independent view of what is humane and what is not. We ask that you apply moral standards of decency as high as those of the majority of the British public, who respect the rights of sentient creatures to a fair deal in life.

You will have been assessing how long it took for the animals to die, though you have only been allowed to see a pitifully small percentage of the animals whose carcasses ended up in the shooters possession. You will not be able to assess the suffering of those badgers known to have escaped wounded, and crawled off to die slowly in some neglected corner.

But whether these animals had a humane death or not, we ask you to question whether killing huge numbers of mostly healthy social mammals CAN be humane, especially in this case. Especially when cubs are left to die of starvation in the setts when their parents never return. Perturbation is the reason that culling is predicted to fail as a means of eradicating TB. But it is also a euphemism for the agony of families of badgers smashed forever. There is much more than physical pain involved here. This is mass slaughter of the innocent, and the destruction of an ancient society of highly evolved sentient creatures.

We have always believed that badger culling will be clearly proved to be scientifically unsupportable, practically unworkable and ineffective – even counter-productive – and an economic disaster. The proof is now there for all to see.

But, furthermore, we believe we have the right, after all the evidence is in, to insist that the decision to reject killing as a solution must rest on MORAL grounds. Because only when the public perception of what is no longer acceptable morally becomes clear – only then can British politics and law move on to a place in which the voices of the voiceless will be heard and will count. Only then does ALL this cruelty become forever unacceptable, and illegal, and some day cruelty itself will be eradicated from our country – our world. We ask you to make a moral judgment, which we believe is part of your brief, on whether these pilots could ever have been justifiable in terms of humaneness.

After Tuesday’s passionate debate, compassion is no longer a distant and unattainable dream in the UK. The edifice of the warped and wrong philosophy of badger culling is beginning to crumble. We believe a strong, courageous statement from the IEP can hasten that process, and help to bring about its long overdue demise, in favour of a policy of immediate vaccination of badgers, and, much more importantly, the prioritising of vaccination of cattle.

Many thanks.

Brian May – Save Me, and Team Badger

 

THE FIVE PANEL MEMBERS

Ranald Munro, a forensic pathologist and former head of pathology at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, and former president of the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA)
Neville Gregory, a professor of animal welfare physiology at the Royal Veterinary College.
Piran White, a personal chair and deputy head of the Environment Department at York University,
Timothy Roper, emeritus professor at the University of Sussex and an expert in badger behaviour and
Peter Watson, executive director of the Deer Initiative and a non-executive director of Deer Management Qualifications, complete the panel.

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**Sat 21 Dec 13**
MILLIONAIRE WALTZ - THE FILM !
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Every now and then something comes into my inbox which is beautiful and extraordinary. And completely unexpected.

Here is a video made by someone I have never met, from elements of an existing video game, depicting a true story.

It absolutely captured my heart. I asked her if she'd allow me to share it with my 'readers' and she's kindly said yes.

So here, created by Mia from 'Sims 3' characters she created herself, is a film …

based on one of my favourite and lesser-known QUEEN tracks ….

"THE MILLIONAIRE WALTZ" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQnK9tZtugI

Sims screenshot

Enjoy ! And if you're tweeting [or Facebooking etc], and you enjoyed it, please spread the word - this lady deserves it !

Cheers

Bri

[SEE Mia's email in LETTERS]

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