Queen Guitarist Brian May, Slash and Others Protest Mass Slaughter of English Badgers

Jon Wiederhorn
Stop The Presses! (NEW)

By Jon Wiederhorn

Officials in West Gloucestershire and West Somerset, England have declared open season on badgers, and Queen guitarist Brian May is incensed by the government's attitude concerning the creatures — which basically amounts to, "Another one bites the dust."

The British government has approved the culling of badgers to battle bovine tuberculosis. Officials determined that killing the animals will prevent increased outbreaks of the disease among dairy and beef cattle. But May insists the mass slaughter of badgers would be both cruel and ineffective.

To battle the government badger-bashers, he submitted a petition containing 234,000 signatures to the Prime Minister’s office, and on June 1 he led a protest march of thousands through the streets of London.

"I think it would be easier for [Prime Minister] David Cameron to cancel it at this point, with some grace and clearly for the public good," May said at the rally, according to NME. "I don't think there would be any shame in cancelling the policy because new evidence has come to light. It's not going to save money. I'm not the person who cares about money, I care about everything else. There is no scientific justification for it, there is no public backing for it, there's no moral grounds — but if it's not going to save the public money either, then surely the foundations for this cull will disappear."

An article published June 3 in UK paper The Guardian indicates that while the cost of killing badgers is lower than the expense of inoculating them against bovine tuberculosis, the price of policing anticipated protests against the evening shooting sprees could far exceed that of mass badger inoculation.

May also announced details about a new badger culling protest track, "Badger Swagger," he worked on with Slash, Massive Attack's Shara Nelson, and English broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough. The group is calling itself Artful Badger & Friends and the song will be available for download starting June 4.

"Badger Swagger" was written and produced by veteran songwriter Rob Cass. "To me all nature is beautiful," he said in a statement. "This track is my humble contribution to stopping the needless slaughter of badgers. I met the 'Artful Badger' team on a demonstration to stop the cull a few months back and we decided the best way we could help was to do what we do best, make music."

"Badger Swagger" follows May's "The Badger Song," a protest number he released in May based on the theme tune from Queen’s "Flash Gordon."