Brian May: Queen won’t play Glastonbury without badger cull apology

Guitarist rules out 50th anniversary headline slot because of rift with festival founder

 Queen guitarist Brian May called badger culling a ‘tragedy and unnecessary crime’ against UK’s wildlife.
 Queen guitarist Brian May called badger culling a ‘tragedy and unnecessary crime’ against UK’s wildlife. Photograph: Ken McKay/ITV/ReX/Shutterstock

Brian May has said Queen will not play Glastonbury next year after clashing with the festival’s founder over the controversial badger cull.

The 72-year-old guitarist and animal rights campaigner rubbished claims that his band had been booked to headline Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary event next year.

Founder Michael Eavis, 84, who is also a dairy farmer, has called May a “danger to farming” and criticised him for his opposition to the badger cull, which is aimed at preventing the spread of bovine TB.

Last year, Eavis’s support for the cull prompted the Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan to call on music fans to boycott Glastonbury.

Speaking on BBC Radio 2 on Friday, May said Queen, who are touring with American Idol’s Adam Lambert providing the vocals, would not perform at Glastonbury in 2020 unless “things changed radically”.

“No, we won’t [perform], and there are lots of reasons for that. One is that Michael Eavis has frequently insulted me and I don’t really particularly enjoy that,” he said.

“What bothers me more is that he is in favour of the badger cull, which I regard as a tragedy and unnecessary crime against wildlife.

May is also the co-founder of the Save Me animal welfare organisation, which campaigns against fox hunting and badger culling.

He started the body in 2010 alongside the environmental campaigner Anne Brummer, and named it after Queen’s 1980 hit.

May appeared on Zoe Ball’s show alongside the singer-songwriter James Blunt and Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas. Blunt did not say whether he would perform at Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary.

He said: “I’m off on my tour from February around the UK. I will be doing some summer festivals. Glastonbury has always been my favourite gig to play. I’ve played on the Pyramid Stage a couple of times and it’s an amazing place, absolutely.”

Diana Ross, who made her name in The Supremes, has already been announced as the performer for next year’s Sunday afternoon Legends slot, which last year was filled by Kylie Minogue.

Representatives of Glastonbury have been contacted for comment.

Nest Predator Bounty Program offers trapping incentives

This spring and summer, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks will be trying to get more people into the sport of trapping, and there will be financial incentive to do so.

Monday GF&P started the Nest Predator Bounty Program, a program that runs through Aug. 31 and will pay $10 per tail for those bringing in raccoons, striped skunks, badgers, opossums and red foxes that have been trapped.

The program will end early if the amount awarded hits $500,000. There is also a $590 cap per individual household.

GF&P regional terrestrial resources supervisor Trenton Haffley said there are a few goals of the program, one of those is to help revitalize a outdoors activity that used to be very prominent in South Dakota, the sport of trapping.

“As part of the department’s strategic plan,we identified trapping as activity we could reinvigorate or get new participants,” he said. “It encourages people to get out and trap during a time where there are animals available and there is no fur incentive.”

Haffley said while there won’t be many opossums in the western side of the state, the other four population groups are healthy enough that the program could be a success.

Originally it was only supposed to be a program rolled out to the eastern side of the state, but eventually GF&P decided it would be worth it to make the program available state-wide.

It started specifically as plan to held protect the nesting habitats of grassland nesting birds and waterfowl. In order to get more people interested in trapping state-wide, the program was opened up.

Haffley said there isn’t research as to why the trapping tradition in South Dakota has fallen off, but mentioned that the sport requires a set of particular skills that aren’t easy to learn.

Still, he said if the program can get the next generation out outdoors enthusiasts interested in trapping, it can help ensure that the tradition survives and starts to thrive in South Dakota.

“It’s a pretty specialized skill set, it’s a long learning curve,” he said. “It takes going out with someone with a lot of experience or dedication to go out and try it every single day. There’s a lot of error and time between success.”

Haffley said in the development plan that was established in 2016, trapping was a key component.

With the plan set to expire in 2020, he said GF&P decided to take action on building on the trapping history in South Dakota.

“We want to recruit, retain and reinvigorate,” he said. “That was one thing we identified in 2016, now here we are in 2019, and we thought we let that fall by the wayside.”

GF&P will evaluate how successful the program is at the end by using hard numbers and a qualitative survey about the experience participants had with the program. Haffley also said it will look at not only the number of participants, but how widely spread they are across the state.

Tails can be taken to the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City, located at 4130 Adventure Trail.

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Care2 March in London to Protest Badger Culling, Fox Cubbing, Grouse Shooting

Last June, animal rights activists celebrated the news that the U.K. ban on fox hunting would remain in place. The Queen’s speech for the opening of a new Parliament made no mention of Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for a vote on the fox hunting ban, meaning that it cannot be repealed until at least 2019.

One of the events leading up to this success was a huge demonstration held on May 29 when thousands of people, including Care2 activists, marched through London in protest against the government’s decision to re-open the debate on fox-hunting.

That was a huge victory, but there is still much work to be done. Saturday, August 12, will see another protest, “Make Badger Culling & Hunting History,” headed up by Care2 along with the Badger Trust, the League Against Cruel Sports and the Born Free Foundation. 

Thousands of animal lovers united in their determination to stop the government from playing politics with British wildlife will gather in London’s Cavendish Square at 1:30 pm and conduct a peaceful protest march to Theresa May’s Downing Street home. 

Grouse shooting season begins on August 12, according to the Facebook group, and badger culling season also begins in August.

badgerPhoto Credit: thinkstock


Why coyotes and badgers hunt together

The two predators were recently photographed collaborating in Colorado, a fascinating example of interspecies teamwork.

November 25, 2016,
coyote and badger hunting together

A coyote and badger stalk prey together on the prairie surrounding the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center in northern Colorado. (Photo: Kimberly Fraser/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Competition and cooperation aren’t mutually exclusive. Just ask a coyote or a badger.

Both are crafty carnivores, and since they often hunt the same prey in the same prairies, it would make sense for them to be enemies, or at least to avoid each other. But while they don’t always get along, coyotes and badgers also have an ancient arrangement that illustrates why it can be smart for rivals to work together.

An example of that partnership recently unfolded on a prairie in northern Colorado, near the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center. And it was captured in photos, both by a wildlife camera trap and by sharp-eyed photographers:

coyote and badger hunting togetherA field camera caught this amazing shot, which shows the coyote and badger trotting across the landscape with a prairie dog looking on in the foreground. (Photo: National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center/Facebook)

coyote and badger hunting togetherThe duo takes a break from pursuing prairie dogs. (Photo: Kimberly Fraser/USFWS)

coyote and badger hunting together(Photo: Kimberly Fraser/USFWS)

coyote and badger hunting togetherThe coyote and badger survey a black-tailed prairie dog colony near Wellington, Colorado. (Photo: Ryan Moehring/USFWS)

While it’s relatively rare to capture such good photos of a hunt like this, the phenomenon is well-documented. It was familiar to many Native Americans long before Europeans reached the continent, and scientists have studied it for decades. It has been reported across much of Canada, the United States and Mexico, according to Ecology Online, typically with one badger hunting alongside one coyote.

(In one study at the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming, 90 percent of all coyote-badger hunts featured one of each animal, while about 9 percent involved one badger with two coyotes. Just 1 percent saw a lone badger join a coyote trio.)

But why would these predators work together at all? When one of them finally catches something, they aren’t known to share the spoils. So what’s the point?

coyote and badger hunting togetherWorking together helps each species pursue prey more effectively. (Photo: Kimberly Fraser/USFWS)

The point, apparently, is to improve the likelihood that at least one of the hunters will snag some prey. Even if that means the other one ends up empty-handed, the partnership seems to pay off for both species in the long run.

Each member of the hunting party has a distinct set of skills. Coyotes are nimble and quick, so they excel at chasing prey across an open prairie. Badgers are slow and awkward runners by comparison, but they’re better diggers than coyotes are, having evolved to pursue small animals in underground burrow systems. So when they hunt prairie dogs or ground squirrels on their own, badgers usually dig them up, while coyotes chase and pounce. The rodents therefore use different strategies depending which predator is after them: They often escape a digging badger by leaving their burrows to flee aboveground, and evade coyotes by running to their burrows.

When badgers and coyotes work together, however, they combine these skills to hunt more effectively than either could alone. Coyotes chase prey on the surface, while badgers take the baton for subterranean pursuits. Only one may end up with a meal, but overall, research suggests the collaboration benefits both hunters.

“Coyotes with badgers consumed prey at higher rates and had an expanded habitat base and lower locomotion costs,” according to the authors of the National Elk Refuge study. “Badgers with coyotes spent more time below ground and active, and probably had decreased locomotion and excavation costs. Overall, prey vulnerability appeared to increase when both carnivores hunted in partnership.”

Badgers and coyotes aren’t always friendly, though. While the majority of their interactions “appear to be mutually beneficial or neutral,” Ecology Online notes they do sometimes prey on each other. The two species have developed “a sort of open relationship,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), since they tend to collaborate in warmer months, then often drift apart as winter sets in.

“In the winter, the badger can dig up hibernating prey as it sleeps in its burrow,” the FWS explains. “It has no need for the fleet-footed coyote.”

Not at the time, anyway. But winter eventually turns to spring, and these two hunters may start to need each other again. And just as they have for thousands of years, they’ll make peace, embrace their differences and get back to work.

Badger cull called off in Gloucestershire

Pilot cull to end earlier than planned after Natural England revokes license

The Guardian,              Friday 29 November 2013

Badger cull ends

The collapse of the badger culling trial in Gloucestershire represents a humiliation for the government’s policy on reducing bovine TB. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

The controversial badger cull in Gloucestershire is being abandoned after  marksmen failed to kill enough animals to meet even drastically reduced targets, the Guardian revealed on Friday.

The collapse of the culling trial represents a humiliation for the government’s policy as it means every target set has now been missed.

Natural England (NE) will revoke the culling licence and the cull will end at noon on Saturday, three weeks earlier than planned. The cull, intended to help curb tuberculosis in cattle, was initially tasked with killing 70% of all badgers in the area in a maximum of six weeks.

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When the sun sets, the dark reality of badger culling emerges

Monday, September 02, 2013
Western Morning News

We’re a week in to the badger-cull that is said to be taking place in West Somerset. As yet no official facts or figures relating to the operation have been released but WMN reporters have been out gauging the mood in the area…

The public, visible, normal face of West Somerset could be found on the shoreline at Minehead this weekend when thousands of people gathered in sunshine to witness the finish of the popular annual RNLI raft-race. It’s a happy vision that belies the new, hidden, furtive and sinister side of the area which occurs after sundown several miles from the coast up in the hills.

​Above: Protesters walking in the cull zone to disperse badgers. Right: Monksilver in the Brendons, where people are roaming the lanes at night

Protesters walking in the cull zone to disperse badgers. Right: Monksilver in the Brendons, where people are roaming the lanes at night
For that is a zone of threat and, at night-times, even fear. A place where police helicopters hover at midnight; where roadblocks are set up without notice; where once- unpopulated nocturnal lanes are suddenly busy; where strangely clean Land Rovers lurk in gateways; where the gateways themselves are now chained and locked; where torchlight flickers in woods at two in the morning; and where – just occasionally – the sound of gunfire reverberates through the coombes.

Welcome to Badger-Cull-UK – land of anonymity and rumour. A place where locals won’t go on record and where unknown people move about the byways at night because they’re either trying to stop the cull, or because they are guarding those who’ve signed up to kill badgers.

Or, perhaps, they’re just making their way home from the pub… like one hapless West Somerset local the other night who inadvertently terrorised a dozen or more people out on anti-cull patrol.

“I was riding my bicycle over the hill from Monksilver and I passed this cottage where two dogs often come out and have a go at me if their owner has forgotten to lock them up,” he told the Western Morning News. “I was swearing and shouting at the dogs as they chased me in the dark lane – and when I went around the corner there were more than a dozen people huddled in the hedgerow, and some of them were screaming in fear.

“They must have thought I was some crazy farmer out to attack them, but I was just fed up with those dogs. And it was a steep hill so, by the time I’d shot by the badger-cull people, it was too late to explain.”

An hour after the late-night incident, a police roadblock was set up in the village of Monksilver – although it is not known if the two events were related.

Indeed, in West Somerset most things related to the cull are unknown. Media enquiries are unwelcome by both sides and monitoring a vast district riddled with valleys and myriad lanes on the ground at night is not an easy option.

Which is presumably why a police helicopter was hovering over the Brendon escarpment between the villages of Monksilver, Roadwater, Luxborough and Withycombe for nearly an hour just after midnight yesterday morning.

In most places where people fear to speak out, rumours tend to abound. And so it is in West Somerset. All manner of tales relating to anti-cull activity are doing the rounds. Is it, for example, really true that one farmer who owns a holiday complex had diesel oil tipped into his swimming pool by animal-rights activists?

Landowners who’ve signed up for the cull are, understandably, reluctant to draw the spotlight of attention on themselves – this newspaper is aware of a dozen such stories, but we cannot vouch for their authenticity because the victims would rather not speak with the Press.

We do know that animal rights activists have created websites giving details of every farmer or landowner in the West Somerset area who has signed up for the cull – one such site provides intricate detail with maps and even videos of properties concerned.

Darkness is descending on the other side of the fence too – a freelance photographer used by the WMN who’d been following the cull story was told this weekend that he was no longer welcome to go out on patrol with activists in the area.

If we descend to the last possible rung of reportage and relate to the “general feeling” of a normally peaceful area that suddenly finds itself the focus of so much nocturnal attention, it would be true to say that many have noticed an upturn in badger numbers over the last few years. Some will have been glad to see them – but, in what is mainly an agricultural community, the most commonly held opinion sparked by bovine TB has, for a long while, been along the lines that “something must be done”.

The trouble a week into the cull is – what is being done is about as clear as mud. There are beginning to be murmurings even among some in the agricultural community that the experiment, operation – call it what you will – lacks scientific credibility.

One farmer in his late 60s – who remains adamant that large numbers of badgers should be exterminated – pointed into a West Somerset valley and told the WMN: “There are two large setts down there – the landowner on the right has signed up for the cull, the one on the left hasn’t.

“No-one knows what state those badgers are in – what happens if they cull a healthy colony, leaving one that is infested with TB? I’ll tell you what – all they’ll have done is helped spread the damned disease!”

And what’s making such people more uncomfortable – or even angry – are unverified reports doing the rounds that the corpses of culled badgers are not being tested for TB.

“If those reports are true,” said the veteran farmer. “Then this whole thing is half-cocked and a waste of time.”

In the meantime, some locals in West Somerset who have nothing to do with the cull either way are beginning to wish the area had never been selected.

A woodman who has worked on an estate near Williton for the past 25 years was stopped by police last week.

“There were three officers in the vehicle and they gave me a right old grilling,” said the man. “One even took my name and wrote down everything I said in a notebook.

“Maybe I can’t blame them – I’ve been in the lanes around here in the past few nights and they’ve been full of all sorts of suspicious-looking people – including security guards in big Land Rovers.

“I’m fed up with it,” he added. “What’s more – I’m afraid it’s all going to kick off and get much worse.”

Many locals would agree with the sentiment – and yearn for the days when the most newsworthy thing that happened in West Somerset was the annual raft-race.

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From people on the scene:



This petition will be delivered to:



Because Badgers have been wrongly blamed for Bovine Tb in Cattle. Farmers want a cull and government have given the go ahead for Badgers to be killed in June 2013,and this will not cure the problem Scientists say. A total of 130,000 are to be slaughtered in the near future. Vaccinate instead.

Stop the Badger Cull, allow badgers to be vaccinated and press forward for a cattle vaccine.
We the under signed agree to Boycott All English Farm Produce , including meat dairy fruit veg and eggs, basically any thing produced by English farmers, in protest against the Badger Cull.

Sincerely, [Your name]

Stop the badger slaughter and save British wildlife

Stop the badger slaughter and save British wildlife

Why this is important

In England, badgers are facing a scary predicament. Thousands of them have been sentenced to death.

The UK government believe that reducing their numbers will help stop the spread of a disease called bovine tuberculosis (TB). But they’re wrong.

Last year, a coalition of scientists told the government the badger cull would be ineffective at stopping the spread of this disease. In fact, they even think it’s likely to make things worse:

“As scientists with expertise in managing wildlife and wildlife diseases, we believe the complexities of tuberculosis transmission mean licensed culling risks increasing cattle TB rather than reducing it.”

Celebrities as far reaching as Queen guitarist Brian May, David Attenborough, Ricky Gervais, and Chris Packham have expressed their disgust at what seems to be the government’s way of appeasing farmers.

The public is finally realising that the government’s policy of killing off these badgers is mindless and likely driven by money. But they’re still going ahead with it. We need to make them see that what they’re doing is wrong.

Badgers have called Britain home for over 250,000 years. They’re shy but social animals who live in big families and are fastidiously clean. They are also a long-standing and beautiful part of British wildlife.

The government needs to know that we don’t accept the needless killing of these creatures.

So far in the UK we have an e-petition with over 250,000 signatures. But the government refuses to listen. David Cameron is staying silent.

So we need some help. This has got to go global. We need people all over the world to voice their protest and maybe, just maybe, we can get through to them.

Bovine TB is a terrible disease, but killing off healthy badgers isn’t the answer. The Wildlife Trusts knows that vaccination of the badger population is the solution. It will saves thousands of innocent lives. Our neighbouring country, Wales, is already vaccinating badgers to great effect

But we need the government to listen to us. Help them hear our cries!