Queen guitarist Brian May criticises badger cull

Brian May
Image caption Brian May called for vaccination of cattle rather than a cull of badgers

Queen guitarist Brian May has spoken out against a planned cull of badgers in the West Country.

He was speaking at a meeting of The League Against Cruel Sports in Taunton on Friday evening.

On 12 July a legal bid by The Badger Trust to block a cull in England failed in the High Court.

The cull is likely to begin in Somerset and Gloucestershire later in the year. Mr May called for vaccination of cattle rather than a cull.

The government says that culling will help combat cattle tuberculosis, which costs the UK more than £100m per year.

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

Defra has said it is investing in developing useable vaccines but these were "years away".

Any cattle vaccine would need to be tested, trialled and approved for use by the European Union.

'Rather ludicrous'

Mr May said: "All the science told us that badger culling isn't the right solution.

"It is hard to understand why the government is keen to follow and welcome this policy on culling badgers."

"It is rather ludicrous that it is not in the crest of the campaign. I think if David Cameron really wanted to solve this problem he would be defying Europe.

"My call is to defy Europe and vaccinate cattle."

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

On Friday the Badger Trust lodged an appeal after its legal bid to block the cull failed.

Chief executive of The League Against Cruel Sports, Joe Duckworth, said Friday's meeting had "sent out a very clear, strong and positive message that many organisations and individuals are united in making sure that this barbaric act is not allowed to proceed".

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