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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Queen star Brian May wades into row over planned Lake District geese cull

Guitarist Brian May has added his voice to a growing chorus of opposition to the planned cull of at least 200 Canada geese in the Lake District.

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Brian May

The musician, lead guitarist with rock band Queen, branded the cull “unthinkable and unjustified.”

He is the highest profile opponent of the plan yet and joins hundreds of people who have already added their names to those who want the decision reversed.

The spring cull at Windermere is backed by the Lake District National Park Authority and has come in response to complaints by landowners about the geese eating crops and claims that their droppings are adversely affecting the water quality of the lake.

Dr May, who has a PhD in astrophysics, and heads the Save Me organisation which campaigns for better treatment of animals, said: “The proposed cull of Canada geese at Windermere is the latest in a string of bad decisions to perceived problems relating to wild animals.

“The current climate of ignorance leads many people in authority, responding to the first complaint about an inconvenience or a loss in income, to reach for the gun. There is no need for me to comment about the multiple trumped-up bits of supposed scientific evidence offered to support this very ill-considered decision.

“All the justifications offered for the killing have been demolished by Animal Aid’s analysis. This decision needs to be reversed, but not just because of the lack of scientific justification.

“There is a bigger picture. We have to start realising that all sentient creatures are worthy of respect. Just because a species is judged to be non-native is no justification for slaughtering innocent families of animals.

“The present population of all creatures in the UK, including humans, is the result of a continuous infiltration and readjustment over thousands of years. Adopting a policy of killing immigrant individuals is unthinkable.

“It is now time to become responsible in our treatment of all animals, and to see further than our immediate knee-jerk reactions. Every animal has a life. Every creature matters. The order for this cull must be rescinded now, and proper thought given to what action is needed, if any.’

A spokeswoman for Animal Aid questioned the claim that phosphate pollution at Windermere was being caused by the geese.

The charity says research suggests the cause is fertiliser run-off from local farms, raw sewage which is pumped into the lake, and detergents and dishwasher tablets from local households.

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