Brian May, CBE, guitarist for Queen, a PhD and an astrophysicist, can now add being named PETA UK's Person of the Year 2012 to his list of accomplishments because of his efforts to stop the government from killing tens of thousands of badgers in the British countryside.
His group, Save Me, formed Team Badger alongside PETA and other animal protection groups to combat the ill-conceived plan to slaughter Britain's badgers – a plan that May accurately called "scientifically unsound" and "monstrous".
May passionately spoke out against the plan through social media, on TV, and the radio and in newspapers, saying, "I think the human race has a very bad way of dealing with the rest of the creatures on this planet …. [T]hey put no value at all on a badger which is a wonderful, sentient being".
May has explained his passion for defending Britain's wildlife: "I suppose I've lived a crazy life, and watching wildlife brings back a sense of tranquillity. When I'm gone, people will no doubt remember me for Queen, but I would much rather be remembered for attempting to change the way we treat our fellow creatures". A long-time vegan advocate, May shares his Surrey home with a wildlife sanctuary, where he helps to rehabilitate injured badgers, hedgehogs, owls and other animals.
"In his fight to save Britain's badgers, Brian May never backed down: he spread his message of compassion for animals through everything he said, wrote and even wore until the world sat up and paid attention", says PETA's Mimi Bekhechi. "His tenacity and boldness are an inspiration to kind people everywhere."
PETA UK's Person of the Year Award is given each year to those who embody kindness and determination as they effect positive change for animals. Previous recipients include Morrissey (2011), Pamela Anderson (2010) and Sir Roger Moore (2009).
For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.