Badger cull: public won't stand for this tragedy says Brian May
Queen guitarist says killing 5,000 badgers will drive a wedge between farmers and public
QUEEN guitarist Brian May has described the decision to give the go-ahead for a badger cull this summer as a "a tragedy for Britain's wildlife" and said he feared it would "drive a wedge" between farmers and the general public.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson confirmed that culls would go ahead in Gloucestershire and Somerset later this year in a speech at the National Farmers Union (NFU) annual conference.
The licences for the pilot schemes will allow culling to take place annually over a six-week period for four years. Marksmen will shoot up to 70 per cent of the badgers in the two areas during the six-week open season. That means up to 5,100 animals could be killed this year, the Daily Mail reports.
The culls were postponed last year when it was discovered that there were more badgers than had been thought in the two areas. The wet weather and police shortages as a result of the Olympics were also said to have contributed to the decision.
Badgers are blamed for spreading bovine TB, which costs farmers millions of pounds each year. But opponents of the cull say killing the animals will make no difference to rates of infection.
The protestors will not give up, the BBC suggests. "The policy of free shooting badgers has not proved popular with either the public or the majority of independent scientists. Opponents of the badger cull have promised to continue their action, with new protests already under way."
One of the most high profile objectors in rock guitarist Brian May. He accused the government of "incredible arrogance" in pushing on with the policy despite widespread objections.
He also warned that the policy would "drive a wedge between the farming community and the general public, who will not stand for this". He said the solution was to vaccinate cows and badgers against the disease rather than killing wild animals.