In the Queen soundtrack to the 1980 movie "Flash Gordon," actor Brian Blessed, playing the evil Prince Vultan, could be heard urging his minions to kill Flash and "bring back his body."
Now Blessed is back, teaming up with Queen's Brian May. Only this time, he's urging peace — not war — as the pair set out to save the badger:
Yes, the song is a little tongue-in-cheek. But this is serious stuff.
Britain, you see, is in the midst of a fierce debate over the culling of badgers to reduce instances of tuberculosis in cattle. On one side stands Britain's powerful farmers union, the National Farmers Union or NFU, together with a Conservative-led coalition government. On the other side of the battle stand many of the U.K.'s animal charities; one of the leading scientists behind the country's last badger cull trials that ended in 2007 (who has called the cull mindless and claimed it won't solve bovine TB); as well as a host of activists, celebrities and ordinary people.
As limited trial culls began in the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire, May wasn't the only one cutting tunes to defend the furry creatures.
This more urban contribution from the Artful Badger features London-rapper Sonny Green and Sam and the Womp, features the authoritative voice of acclaimed naturalist Sir David Attenborough explaining that the government's own research shows culling is not a viable control for TB. It's also enhanced by the unmistakable guitar licks of former Guns N' Roses axe-man Slash (who later tweeted that his solo sounded like "a badger riot, or a bunch of hooligan badgers in a pub."):
Also featured on the Team Badger homepage are messages of support from Dame Judy Dench and Meatloaf, all throwing their weight behind a growing movement to vote for Brian May at the next election if the cull goes ahead.
The government and the NFU continue to insist that a targeted cull is a necessary part of a broader strategy to control bovine TB (the NFU notes that 38,000 cattle were slaughtered because of bovine TB last year), but it seems much of the British public — not to mention a cast of global celebrities — disagree.
Whether or not the public outrage can win the battle of the badgers remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: For better or worse, "Save the badger, badger, badger" is likely to be stuck in many people's heads for a long time to come.
So, in the interests of bringing us back to what this is really all about, let's close this post with some thoughts from Jane Goodall:
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