Rock star Brian May applauds Wales badger cull review
Rock star Brian May has welcomed a Welsh Government decision to put controversial plans for a badger cull in Wales on hold pending a review.
The Queen guitarist and badger campaigner said he applauded the "courage" of Environment Minister John Griffiths in announcing the move.
The cull had been part of an attempt by the recent Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition government to combat bovine TB.
However, the review has been attacked by pro-cull campaigners.
May joined the campaign against the cull in north Pembrokeshire last March.
The Labour Welsh Government promised a "science-led" approach towards bovine TB in its manifesto for May's assembly election.
And on Tuesday Mr Griffiths announced that the cull would be held back pending a review by an independent panel of experts of the science involved in it.
In a statement on his website May said: "We applaud the courage of John Griffiths in putting plans for the slaughter of badgers in Wales on hold, while a proper investigation is carried out."
He added: "We applaud John Griffiths because the more light is thrown on this whole sorry business, the more the public will become aware of what issues are at stake, economically, scientifically, and most important of all - though this has recently been swept under the carpet, ethically."
The decision to place the cull, previously put forward by the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition government, under was also welcomed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, which manages four nature reserves within the proposed badger cull area.
Sarah Kessell, chief executive, said: "With so much at stake, this rigorous review process is vital if the best result is to be achieved."
"We believe that vaccination offers the best outcome for farming communities as well as avoiding large scale destruction of our native wildlife.
"Current vaccination research is starting to deliver very positive results, and this will be a key part of the evidence presented to the review."
However, the Welsh Government's move was criticised by pro-cull campaigners.
Prof Bill Reilly of the British Veterinary Association, said: "We are extremely disappointed that this additional review has been deemed necessary by the new Government.
"If new evidence is presented it must be considered, but we are not aware of any."
Prof Reilly said the Welsh Government had already taken extensive action to show that the scientific basis for a badger cull as part of the bovine TB eradication plan was robust.
"Further delays to the roll out of the eradication programme will simply cause further devastation to Welsh cattle herds."
The Country Landowners Association (CLA) said the huge damage being done to farming and the rural economy by bovine TB should have persuaded Mr Griffiths to allow the cull.
CLA Wales director Ben Underwood said: "By appointing a panel of experts to re-examine the issue, the Welsh Government has effectively kicked this key decision into the long grass.
"Around 10% of cattle farms in Wales are under movement restrictions because of bovine TB and a reported £12m was paid in compensation to farmers in Wales last year.
"So, not to push on with the planned badger cull alongside other measures to control bovine TB in cattle, is clearly a very bad decision."