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Brian May in Stroud to speak against badger cull

Category: England

Published: 2nd Jun 2012 15:23:46

Queen guitarist Brian May has been speaking out against a proposed cull of badgers in England during a visit to Gloucestershire.

The rock star was attending a public meeting in Stroud organised by campaigners against the cull.

The government has said a cull is needed to curb the spread of tuberculosis in cattle.

But May said: "These badgers are our wildlife heritage... The alternative is vaccination."

The government's plans for a cull are to be reviewed in the High Court following a legal challenge by the Badger Trust.

Talking to BBC Gloucestershire ahead of his speech at the Old Town Hall in Stroud, May said: "I think we need to get across to the public a tragedy is about to happen.

"There's about to be two pilot culls of badgers and they will try to kill a large percentage of them in an attempt to control bovine TB.

"All the scientific evidence we have goes against it and says this isn't actually going to work."

May said that his main message by attending the Badger Trust meeting in Stroud was that "this is worthy of attention".

He said: "We all want our children and grandchildren to grow up in a country where there are wild animals and they're healthy and allowed to be free.

"It's a very sensitive issue and something I think we should all care about, and I would like to see all of us make a huge fuss and make the government think again."

He said of vaccination: "It's fairly difficult, but it can be done."

Finalised plans for a cull were announced in December. The government said it had to "take action now".

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said TB infection forced the slaughter of 25,000 cattle in 2010 alone.

The spokesman said nobody wanted to kill badgers, but that no country where wildlife carried TB had eradicated the disease in cattle without tackling it in wildlife as part of a prevention programme.

He said that while Defra was investing in developing useable vaccines, these were "years away".

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