Treating foxes as pests and racing greyhounds at Wimbledon dog track is “cruel” and “part of the dark ages”, according to former Queen guitarist-turned campaigner Brian May.
The legendary rock god, who champions animal rights, paid a surprise visit to Lonesome Primary School in Mitcham last week to talk about humane ways of dealing with an ongoing problem of foxes coming into school grounds.
After parents saw their children’s clothes had fox droppings on them, a pest control company offered to cull the foxes.
But instead the school contacted May, who explained to children how foxes are good for the environment and can be deterred by not discarding litter and food around the grounds.
May is an outspoken animal rights advocate who founded the Save Me charity which lobbies to end cruelty to animals for sport.
One of the school’s governors is Michael O’Neill, who is married to Gillian, the sister of May’s wife and former Eastenders actress, Anita Dobson.
Speaking to the Wimbledon Guardian, May explained he felt “called” to lobby for animals rights to protect wildlife like foxes and badgers, who are regarded by many people as pests.
He said: It’s very central to being a human being and being alive and being on this planet. We should all be concerned with how we treat animals on this planet.
“Martin Luther King came up with this list of self evident truths, such as all men are created equal. I believe all creatures are created equal too.
“We’ve become a plague on the planet. There’s too many of us. Every other species is being driven into a corner and so many animals are on the brink of extinction. Imagine a world where’s there’s no lions anymore. It could happen.”
“More and more people are realising animals have the same kind of guiding principles as we do. They have families and they want to survive the same as us.”
After signing autographs and posing for photographs, May gave a presentation to the children about why foxes are good for the environment and are attracted to the school because of discarded food and wrappings.
He also revealed he would welcome the closure of Wimbledon Stadium, the home of greyhound racing in England.
He said: “I wouldn’t be sorry to see it go. I know the animals are treated badly. I’ve seen so many animals who are rescued from greyhound racing who are about to be slung out or destroyed.
“I’ve seen too much cruelty associated with greyhound racing and horse racing and I would not be sad to see it go.
“Let’s bet on people running. There’s no need to force animals to do this stuff and push them beyond their physical endurance limits.
“To me that’s all the dark ages. I’d like to see the end of it.
“You can bet on buses but you don’t have to torture animals in order to get a thrill from betting.”