Queen's Brian May to attend badger cull rally in Bristol today
Queen guitarist Brian May will join animal conservationists in Bristol this afternoon in a rally against a proposed badger cull due to take place in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
The founder of Save Me, a non-profit organisation that highlights wildlife injustices, May will speak at the rally about his opposition to the cull.
The chief executive of the RSPCA Gavin Grant will also be among those speaking at the event, which runs from 4.30pm to 7pm.
Joe Duckworth, chief executive of The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), and Mark Jones, veterinarian and director of Humane Society International (UK), will also speak at the Stop the Cull rally, organised by the Badger Trust.
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Animal charities are urging local people to come along to the gathering, which is free to attend, and demonstrate their opposition to the cull, which the Government claims will help combat cattle tuberculosis.
Read more about the badger cull debate here.
Bristol Green Councillor Gus Hoyt, who will also attend the rally, said: "Wildlife are an essential part of life and we must stop viewing them as competitors and pests.
"We have become over-reliant on mass produced livestock and this is what we need to focus on - obtaining a sustainable modern means of food production - not assaulting our countryside. This cull is inexcusable."
The rally is timed to coincide with the hearing at the Court of Appeal in which the Badger Trust will seek to overturn a judge's decision to allow the cull to take place.
In December 2011 plans were announced for a cull, initially in Gloucestershire and Somerset, to try to curb the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in cattle.
The government says culling will help combat cattle tuberculosis, which costs the UK more than £100m per year.
In July this year the Badger Trust saw its legal bid to block the badger cull fail in the High Court.
The Trust argued the cull plans drawn up by the Department the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) were illegal, on the grounds they would at best make a small impact on the disease and could make it worse.
The trust also argued that the plan to have culling licences issued by Natural England was outside the law, and that the only person authorised to issue them was the Environment Secretary - Caroline Spelman MP.
But in his judgement, Mr Justice Ouseley ruled against the Trust on both counts.
The result means culls could begin as early as September.