The former Queen guitarist’s group Save Me formed Team Badger alongside PETA and various other animal welfare groups.
PETA’s Mimi Bekhechi said of May: “In his fight to save Britain’s badgers, Brian May never backed down: he spread his message of compassion for animals through everything he said, wrote and even wore until the world sat up and paid attention. His tenacity and boldness are an inspiration to kind people everywhere.”
Badgers are currently under threat after farmers in England were given a licence to shoot them in a bid to reduce tuberculosis in cattle for the first time in Gloucestershire.
“The disease comes from cows, it doesn’t come from badgers,” May has explained. “It’s a very unfair situation. Badgers have been the scapegoat for years and years and farmers have been killing badgers for many, many years now.”
He added: “All the scientific evidence that’s been done – 11,000 badgers were killed in the ISG [Independent Scientific Group]’s experiment…and their conclusion was that killing badgers cannot meaningfully contribute to the problem of bovine TB in cattle. It’s completely unequivocal.”
The government hopes the licences and that the death of an estimated 100,000 badgers will help curb the scourge of TB in cattle, which led to 26,000 cows being slaughtered in 2011.
May is not the first musical star to receive PETA’s honour. Morrissey was named PETA UK’s Person of the Year in 2011.