Daily Mirror Brian May Exclusive … !!!



I did an interview with Melissa Thompson from the Daily Mirror last Sunny Sunday.

It seems we more or less missed the deadline for the paper, though. Which is a shame.

However Melissa kindly agreed to write the conversation up for me – for this website.

Here it is.

Thanks Melissa !

I’m happy that the Mirror is making some noise about this sadly outdated abuse of magnificent creatures.



10 April 2011

“I like racing, I think it’s exciting. Racing of all kinds – people running, in motorcars, on horses – but unfortunately the horses don’t get asked if they want to do it or not.

“I think it’s plain that once you’ve got the deaths of animals in something which is done for fun and excitement there’s something wrong.

“I can’t imagine anyone involved in the Grand National would’ve been pleased with the sight of two horses dying, and even the winning horse in a bad state at the end of the race.

“To me it’s all part of something which must change, and that’s our overall attitude to animals. There’s absolutely no justification for risking the death of animals for something that is supposed to be fun.

“The jockeys are also at risk – one of them is badly injured – which is pretty much unacceptable as well. Apart from, of course, the jockey is able to make the choice, as does a racing driver.

“There’s a great similarity with the play War Horse. These animals are pressed into the service of men and they don’t have any choice. We have a huge obligation to look after their welfare so to me I know there are Grand National people already saying they’ve cleaned things up and they’re trying to make things easier but if this is the best they can do then I think the Grand National has to end.

“I would love to see them clean up their act and run a race that is still fun but doesn’t need to lead to the death of the horses. But if they can’t do that, then really they should move on.

“To me this is just another example of ‘tradition’ being used for bad behaviour. Tradition is used to justify all sorts of beastly goings-on until people realise it’s not justifiable any more as society hopefully becomes more civilised.

“It’s like fox-hunting – there’s not justification for chasing after mammals with half-starved dogs. I spend a lot of my life campaigning against this kind of stuff.

“(Pro-Grand National people argue the horses are well-looked after and lead a happy life.) Well they don’t look very happy when they’re being whipped to within an inch of their lives. The guy on the winning horse was still whipping his horse right to the end. I understand he’s been banned for five days. In my opinion he and all the people involved should be banned with handling those animals for a very long time.

“Of course the horses are looked after – they look after them because they can make money from them, let’s be honest.

“You look for altruism in all kinds of people who deal with animals and unfortunately you don’t find it. You find people somehow get inured to the feelings of the animals and perhaps they think they’re doing something nice but it’s quite clear to me no matter how well those horses are treated off-stage as it were, the thing that they’re trained for is extremely cruel.

“I didn’t watch it this year. I’ve never approved ever since the days my mother used to watch it and say “why doesn’t anybody realise it’s cruel?”

At least people are talking about it now. And at least they showed the vets arriving to try to do something – in the old days that would’ve been covered up, but at least the world saw what was happening.

“So I think there is a wind of change but it’s a slow process of gradually opening people’s eyes I think.

“And that’s what I’m very much involved with and I think I will be until the day I die.”

Melissa Thompson