Queen guitarist Sir Brian May has backed a badger culling protest organised by a campaigner from Welwyn.

Mary Barton, of Ayot St Peter, organised the demonstration, held outside the Houses of Parliament on Saturday, against the killing of the UK's badger population, with more than 210,000 killed since 2013, as part of efforts to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis in cattle.

Sir Brian was unable to make it on the day, but sent a statement in support of her efforts, saying: "I'm pledging my support and admiration for Betty Badger, alias Mary Barton, and all who continue to work so hard to keep this issue visible to the public.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Brian May.Brian May. (Image: PA Images/PA Wire)

"The British badger cull is the worst crime against wild animals of this century.   

"11 years of slaughter of these magnificent native animals under successive Conservative governments has brought about no advance in the fight against the scourge of bovine TB.

"It's now well documented that DEFRA's policy of testing and removing cattle, and slaughter of badgers, is a failure for the dairy farmers, a failure for their cattle, who are as riddled with bovine TB as they were 11 years ago, and a tragedy of catastrophic proportions for the badgers.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Mary Barton (L) organised the protest.Mary Barton (L) organised the protest. (Image: Mary Barton)

"This farce must end. And some day there will be an accounting for all the lies that have been told to excuse the slaughter.

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"It's clear that under this government, the madness will continue indefinitely. The only hope for our wildlife is a change of government.

The killing must stop. Use your votes to secure justice and mercy for British wildlife, before it's too late."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: More than 210,000 badgers have been killed since 2013.More than 210,000 badgers have been killed since 2013. (Image: Mary Barton)

The protest saw speeches from experts, including the Head of the Badger Trust, Peter Hambly, previous CEOs Dominic Dyer and Dave Williams, and immunologist Dr David Jones.

Mary also gave a speech at the protest, and told the Welwyn Hatfield Times of the badger's importance.

"The government has killed around 50 per cent of the UK badgers population, and there is no scientific reason to support this. The cull is being opposed by international scientists," she said.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Protestors gathered outside the House of Parliament.Protestors gathered outside the House of Parliament. (Image: Mary Barton)

"Badgers have roamed the UK since the Ice Age. They are our largest remaining predator.  We wiped out all the others through hunting, and now we are struggling to reintroduce them, like with beavers. 

"Some of the setts in Welwyn Hatfield have been here for literally decades. Badgers, also known, as Brocks, appear everywhere, like Brockswood Lane and Brocket Hall.

"In some areas of the UK they have been completely wiped out, and the government is planning even more killing, even though it promised to stop the cull by 2025.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Badgers are culled as part of efforts to stop the spread of bovine TB.Badgers are culled as part of efforts to stop the spread of bovine TB. (Image: Mary Barton)

"We cannot let bad science destroy one of our last large mammals remaining in the UK."

Before the protest, Mary claimed that badgers have little to do with the spread of bovine TB, describing the culling as "cruel slaughter".

"Badgers are being blamed for the spread of bovine TB in cattle, but there is very little evidence to support that claim," she said.

"In fact, the disease is spread by poorly tested cattle moving from farm to farm, by slurry spreading and poor biosecurity."

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Speeches were given by experts and campaigners at the protest.Speeches were given by experts and campaigners at the protest. (Image: Mary Barton)

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Around 70 people turned up to the protest.Around 70 people turned up to the protest. (Image: Sally Jones)