Brian May joins Beds Euro MP to boost badger cause

Richard Howitt with MEP
Richard Howitt with MEP

Queen guitarist Brian May has teamed up with Bedfordshire MEP Richard Howitt to oppose plans for a mass badger cull.

The pair, both RSPCA vice presidents, announced at the European Parliament that they are backing the backing the charity’s moves to challenge the British government’s decision to cull badgers,

They met European MPs from different countries to call on them to fast-track EU agreement for a new test which will combat TB in cattle without the need to shoot the badger population.

Mr Howitt said: “Bovine tuberculosis is a dreadful disease afflicting cattle but there is no sense in the government’s plans to wipe out 70 per cent of the badger population to save at best one per cent of affected cattle.

“In fact the government’s own scientists have shown a mass cull won’t work, and evidence from Ireland where there has been mass extermination of badgers is that it hasn’t helped farmers there either.

“The problem with vaccinating cattle to stop the disease spreading in the past was that testing failed to distinguish between diseased and vaccinated cattle. But new scientific results overcoming this can and should be quickly agreed in Brussels.

“Labour will continue to challenge the planned mass badger cull in a parliamentary vote expected in the next two weeks at at Westminster, but I want to see a viable alternative agreed in Europe which protects farmers and wildlife together.

“If that fails legal action in Europe is our alternative to show the government is breaking its own international commitments on animal welfare and we will do it.”