Badger badger badgering the Cameron government!
May 6, 2013 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Dr. Brian May, CBE, PhD FRAS, recently retired Chancellor of LJMU, winner of The RPS' Saxby Award for achievements in the field of stereoscopic photography, distinguished author, lecturer, film producer, entrepreneur, and occasional musician has been quite busy lately trying to prevent a sweeping cull of the British badger population. His efforts have been surprisingly successful. The overwhelming response to his government petition led to a parliamentary debate, where MPs overwhelmingly rejected the cull in a non-binding vote. The government has attempted to press forward with the cull, but has faced significant resistance from scientists, naturalists, and concerned citizens that have led to implementation delays. The movement recently got the attention of Weebl, who has recorded a rough cut of a new song with Brian May called "Save the Badger Badger Badger" which was recently used in a flash mob protest. The final version will include additional vocals by Brian Blessed.
posted by markkraft (29 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool, but....

A politically-motivated badger hunt? Which MPs are in the pocket of Big Snake?
posted by JHarris at 12:44 PM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


(And badgers are causing bovine tuberculosis? How does that work?)
posted by JHarris at 12:45 PM on May 6, 2013


I ... the magical confluence here of badgers, obscure British politics, Weebl, and Brian Blessed may be too much for me.

I may have to go for a bit of a lie down.
posted by feckless at 12:48 PM on May 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


And Dr. Brian May. Obviously. You can see I'm a little overwhelmed.
posted by feckless at 12:50 PM on May 6, 2013


The badgers are being accused of catching bovine tuberculosis and being a vector of passing it between cows.

Of course, there are lots of other animals that can do this as well... dogs, cats, horses, etc., including, not unsurprisingly, cows.
posted by markkraft at 12:50 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


It ain't the snakes: it's the dachshunds.
posted by No Robots at 12:53 PM on May 6, 2013


Oh god the flash mob video. I really need to go for that lie down.
posted by feckless at 12:55 PM on May 6, 2013


I would like to reiterate a point made last week by shakes: please do not frame a post in a way that makes me think one of my favorite people might be dead.

Now excuse me while I go fish my heart up out of my intestines.
posted by phunniemee at 12:58 PM on May 6, 2013


I liked the sole woman rocking along to the music in the video of the initial presentation of the song. Go you and yourself for badgers!
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:58 PM on May 6, 2013


Slight derail:

I grew up in an environment where rock music was heavily frowned upon because, obviously, all of those people are just ignorant drug addicts. The fact that Brian May was a freaking doctor of astrophysics was a lifeline to me. The guy is just so smart and so talented and so awesome. (See also: Greg Graffin.)

Derail over.
posted by jbickers at 1:00 PM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


The badgers are being accused of catching bovine tuberculosis and being a vector of passing it between cows.

Sounds to me like the cows are a vector for passing tuberculosis between badgers. Let's cull the cows instead.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:02 PM on May 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The badgers are being accused of catching bovine tuberculosis and being a vector of passing it between cows.

Of course, there are lots of other animals that can do this as well... dogs, cats, horses, etc., including, not unsurprisingly, cows.
Ah, but see here: cows are stewarded by the Guardians Of The Countryside who have a mystical and sacred bond with the countryside and everything in it and never do anything wrong or lack the knowledge to make proper decisions, no sir. Cows are for milk, beef, breeding, and grinding up to feed to other cows.* Definitely not for culling!**

*"Meet and Bone Meal" sounds like a lovely date, but alas.
**Unless they happen to have contracted BSE, Foot and Mouth, Tuberculosis, etc, etc, etc. But of course the Guardians Of The Countryside make sure that never ever happens.
posted by Jehan at 1:11 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suspect they think they can increase their yield through the medium of animal sacrifice. Welcome to rural Britain. Young people in the British countryside lose their virginity as soon as they can for fear of ending up in the giant wicker man.
posted by Grangousier at 1:16 PM on May 6, 2013


There's more info at the UK badger cull Wikipedia page. One interesting point is that the reason they can't vaccinate cows directly is that it leads to false positives on mandatory TB tests.

Thus, killing the badgers. It's much cheaper than vaccinating them.
posted by mediareport at 1:24 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to mention that his hairstyle works just as well for him as an astrophysics professor as it does for his being a rock star.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:32 PM on May 6, 2013


But m'lud, I was simply sending my terriers into the badger sett to administer a vaccination. How were the dogs to know that these particular badgers were Jim Carrey fans?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:33 PM on May 6, 2013


"the reason they can't vaccinate cows directly is that it leads to false positives on mandatory TB tests"

...which, of course, is nutty, since the only way to eradicate the disease is through immunization, so that British cattle are immune to it. Everything else is just an expensive stop gap procedure that *may* reduce the incidence of the disease somewhat... but might also help spread the disease, when threatened, potentially infected animals move to other fields -- and possibly other herds -- in order to avoid hunters.

Even the opposition's data from farmer's groups suggests no more than about a 16% reduction in cases over a decade of culling, based on highly dubious estimates. That translates into about 4500 cows saved per year after nine years of continuous culling, in exchange for killing approximately 130,000 badgers ASAP -- around 70% of the total population -- followed by a decade of continued culling at taxpayer expense, which would have to be maintained ad infinitum, to maintain any marginal benefits that *might* be gained.
posted by markkraft at 1:55 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh god the flash mob video. I really need to go for that lie down.

We live a block from the legislature, where there are rallies at least once a week. The other day my son and I were out for a walk, and there was a rally to do with protecting old growth forest. My son was curious about the details of the campaign, so we approached the closest participants, who happened to be young ladies, probably university-aged.

They were quite sweet, and answered my son's questions with a lot of enthusiasm and sincerity.

So, if you're ever considering an AskMe post about dating and how to meet members of the opposite sex, I would totally recommend going to the legislature lawn and striking up a conversation with whoever strikes your fancy.

I wish I had thought of that as a freshman all those years ago!
posted by KokuRyu at 2:00 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those interested in learning from the good Doctor, might I recommend this video?
posted by markkraft at 3:07 PM on May 6, 2013


Fellow badger-lovers of MetaFilter, I give you the House of Lords debate on the Badgers Bill, 2 April 1973:

VISCOUNT MONCK

Let us take a practical case. My noble and learned friend and myself are walking quietly down a glade in a wood at this time of the year, and, as is our wont, stopping now and again to pick a primrose, and uttering those famous words of Wordsworth: "Oh to be in England, now that April's there." Then, suddenly, round the corner comes a badger. It takes one look at my noble and learned friend and myself and turns tail. That is not unreasonable. But who is to say whether that badger has been terrified by the sight of my noble and learned friend and myself, or whether it has a guilty conscience because it has just robbed a hen roost or, as a noble friend of mine said just now, a partridge's nest?

LORD CHORLEY

Browning wrote the poem.

THE EARL OF ARRAN

May I point out to the Committee that the walk which the noble Viscount proposes taking with the noble and learned Viscount would have to be by night, because badgers are not normally seen in the day-time.

LORD CAMOYS

Badgers are not entirely nocturnal. I do not entirely agree with the noble Earl, Lord Arran, on that point. I once saw a badger—I thought it was a deer—come up through a plantation, and it ran right into my legs. It was not afraid of me at all—it turned round and went back again. Perhaps it knew by instinct that I was pro-badger.


Lord Arran also sponsored the 1967 bill for decriminalising homosexuality, and is said to have declared that he had only two aims in life, 'to stop people buggering badgers, and to stop people badgering buggers'.
posted by verstegan at 3:43 PM on May 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


"The final version will include additional vocals by Brian Blessed."
If ever a sentence cried out to come after the [more inside] fold, it was this one…
posted by Pinback at 3:59 PM on May 6, 2013


Lord Arran also sponsored the 1967 bill for decriminalising homosexuality, and is said to have declared that he had only two aims in life, 'to stop people buggering badgers, and to stop people badgering buggers'.
He is also quite right that badgers are seldom seen in the daytime. As for Lord Camoys saying that he once saw a badger by day, his "I thought it was a deer" aside somewhat flaws his trustworthiness. A man who mistakes a badger for a deer is not fit to tell between night and day.
posted by Jehan at 4:17 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe it was some of that dry British wit?

Sounds to me like the cows are a vector for passing tuberculosis between badgers. Let's cull the cows instead.

It's all a bunch of animals passing TB to each other! This calls for THE ERADICATION OF ALL LIFE
posted by JHarris at 6:56 PM on May 6, 2013


I was hyperventilating even before I saw mention of Brian Blessed, and before I realized that the Brian & Brian Badger Cover is also a Flash Gordon pastiche. It's not every day that this many of my favourite things coincide.
posted by pont at 6:43 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is so awesome it's hard to believe it's real.

The final version will include additional vocals by Brian Blessed yt .

Is there an ETA on this?!
posted by homunculus at 12:05 AM on May 8, 2013


The "Save the Badger Badger Badger" video has been released, featuring Weebl, Brian May, and Brian Blessed!
posted by markkraft at 5:22 PM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Giant badger causes 'hysteria' at girls' school
posted by homunculus at 1:14 PM on May 27, 2013


Far-Right Extremists Chased Through London by Women Dressed as Badgers. Brian May was (as possibly expected) involved.
posted by Lexica at 7:47 PM on June 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


That is probably the greatest headline I've ever read.
posted by homunculus at 8:24 PM on June 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


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