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Press Release from Barney White-Spunner, Executive Chairman Countryside Alliance Ireland [via]:

It came as some surprise last weekend to find that Queen musician Brian May had been leasing the stalking rights on his land. The news was broken by the Sunday Times, who found that he was receiving payments of £750 a year for the right to shoot deer on his Middlemarsh estate. Many other papers picked up on this story because of its significance since Dr May has become a figurehead of the animal rights movement. This is more than just irony . . .

Brian May is the self styled saviour of animals. Not a TV, radio or newspaper interview is complete without the obligatory comment from him “standing up” for the animals. He has vehemently opposed any form of culling, but was most vocal in the recent case of the proposed badger cull.

The fact that a millionaire rock star raised his own dwindling profile at the expense of dairy farmers on the brink of collapse and bankruptcy is hard enough to accept. The fact that he did this having profited from a deer cull on his own land is indefensible.

Dr May stood shoulder to shoulder with the RSPCA and other animal rights groups to oppose the badger cull at all costs, including boycotting milk from already pressed farmers.

As I reported last week, he also endorsed the policy that would make public the names of all those involved in culling, regardless of the consequences. In a cruel twist of poetic justice, May has been the one whose name was made public for allowing shooting to take place on his land.

Now the tables have been turned, Brain May appears to prefer secrecy about what happens on his own land.

The word hypocrite hardly does justice to the level of duplicity displayed, but at least he must start to comprehend how the affected farmers feel.


Countryside Alliance Ireland has been active since the early 1960s, providing Irish sportsmen and women with high levels of information and advice and representation. Over the years as the political environment has changed we have evolved into a highly effective campaigning organisation. Countryside Alliance Ireland is governed by an elected “Board” made up from members throughout Ireland. The Board sets policy and oversees financial and operational matters. Countryside Alliance Ireland partner groups nominate members of the “Board” also, making it truly representative of country sports interests in Ireland.

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  1. Oh – but it’s OK if he benefits from the death of animals. After all, he’s also fighting for them. Kinda like Mary Beth Sweetland.

  2. He is still the best rock guitarist/astrophysicist that I am aware of. Perhaps because he is the only rock guitarist/physicist that I am aware of. He is however, only the second best rock guitarist who built his own guitar, after Bo Diddley. Hey, Bo Diddley.

  3. “to oppose the badger cull at all costs, including boycotting milk from already pressed farmers.”

    Is badger milk really that popular over there?

  4. We’ve recently seen PETA outed for its double-standards in being the hypocritical butcher of tens of thousands of dogs and cats under their protection. Previously, Bloomberg’s ‘Mayors against Illegal Guns’ was outed for many in their nationwide gang of mayors being involved in diverse criminal activities. Now, Queen May has joined the ranks of those outed with his culling double-standards.

    The pro-gun community is opposed by those who have no concern for or grasp of the truth, facts, consequences, and legal rights of gun owners and hunters. I’m no therapist yet I suspect that the pro-gun community (RKBA) is also opposed by people some of whom are very emotionally unbalanced going beyond being simply ignorant, arrogant, and opportunistic.

  5. I don’t understand being against culls. There’s usually a good reason behind them sorta like the seal cull.

    • That is true here in NOrway seal have a parasite in their stomach and if you dont cull them it spreads to fish and that ruims the meat(it eats them from the inside)

    • The argument I am familiar with (other than save the cute cuddly animals) is that the cull is not cost effective. I don’t remember the real numbers, nor will I google to find them right now, but it was something like culling badgers cuts TB in cows by 20%, which sounds impressive until you find out that only 1 in 300 cows even gets TB in the first place, so culling badgers changes the cow TB rate to 1 in 360. Yes, it would be noticeable by ranchers, but (a) the same amount of money would reduce it further if spent in other ways, and (b) culling is manually intensive, leaves dead badgers all over, requires a bunch of hunters traipsing all over farms in ways that normal hunters do not.

      It’s like federal safety initiatives to make certain products safe which cost $500K per life saved, when there are other, unfunded, ways to save lives which only cost $50K per life saved. Where would you rather spend the money?

      I do not know the validity of the badger culling economics. It is only what I have heard as the main real argument, as opposed to PETA style cute and cuddly nonsense.

      • “culling badgers cuts TB in cows by 20%, which sounds impressive until you find out that only 1 in 300 cows even gets TB in the first place, so culling badgers changes the cow TB rate to 1 in 360.”

        Math nitpick: Presuming the 1 in 300 and 20% numbers are accurate, the resulting rate would be 1 in 375.

        If you reduce the existing rate by 20%, the new rate is 80% of the existing.
        1/300 x 80% == 0.8/300 == 1/375

        According to Table 2 in this UK .gov doc, the actual 2012 rate is about 1 in 200. Decreasing that rate by 20% would result in 1 in 250. As of Dec 2011, there were about 9.7 million head of cattle in the UK. Reducing a 1 in 200 incidence rate by 20% would result in about 10,000 more “healthy” cattle UK-wide.

        How much does the cull cost?

        • Thanks for picking up the math error. I blame it on this stuffed up head I’ve had for several days.

          Also thanks for looking up real figures. But I don’t remember how much the cull cost, and the point was not its absolute cost but the cost per head of cattle saved in comparison with other lesser expenditures which save more cattle, combined with the intrusiveness of government hunters trespassing wherever they want.

        • Interesting. This Guardian article says “it would cost £1.55m [$2.5 million] to conduct the government’s cull for four years” on 150 square km, or about $17 per acre per year. The article also says that the cull is expected to reduce the “TB slaughter” by 16%.

          If I was raising cattle, had one animal per acre, and it cost me $1000 to raise a beef animal from birth to slaughter (guesstimate based on Googling the topic), I’d probably be willing to pay the $17 annual “insurance” on each animal – increasing per-animal production cost by 3.4% – in order to reduce my potential TB losses. I’d definitely try to pass that cost on when I sell the animals.

          To me, it would be like my homeowner’s insurance: I don’t have it to cover a single broken window; I have it to cover major, catastrophic events… I’m not really thinking of just reducing my possible annual TB losses by 16% (because that would not be cost-effective) – I’m more concerned with the potential catastrophic loss in case 20% of my herd is hit in a single year.

          I do understand that the process and economics are different under the UK’s program. I was just trying to consider it from an individual farmer’s perspective (IANAF), and in a scenario where the farmers are responsible for the costs.

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