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Queen star Brian May tells how bumblebee killing stung him into action on animal rights

By Nevin Farrell

Published 13/07/2015

Rock star Brian May
Rock star Brian May
Some of the pigs on Derek Hall’s farm at Old Carrick Road
Farmer Derek Hall wants to relocate to a huge factory on the Rea Hill Road, plans for which have attracted vehement opposition from thousands of people, rock star Brian May among them

Rock legend Brian May - who has led opposition to a massive pig farm in Co Antrim - has revealed how killing a bumblebee when he was a boy set him on the path to becoming one of the UK's best known animal rights activists.

The Queen guitarist has previously described the plans for the huge pig farm in Newtownabbey as a "horrific prospect".

Farmer Derek Hall, who has submitted the plans for the farm, argues that it will allow his pigs more space and better conditions.

But 67-year-old May said recently: "Mechanised farming on this scale is a horrific prospect.

"Cruel and degrading to the animals, it is the final unacceptable step into the complete denial that animals have any feelings, or any right to a decent life and a decent death.

"These vile factories are the antithesis of humane farming, and in the USA have already virtually wiped out traditional farmers of the land."

Now, in an interview with a Sunday newspaper, May revealed that the traumatic effect of a series of incidents in his youth - including killing flies - made him think of the rights of creatures.

It started when he was frightened by a bumblebee at his home in south-west London when he was a boy in the 1950s - and he took deadly revenge.

"A bumblebee got into the house and seemed to be following me around and I got scared."

He used his mother's 'pump-action Flit gun' insect repellent to kill flies in the kitchen.

"I got the Flit gun and pumped it at the bee," said May.

"It fell down, started buzzing horribly and whizzed round and round for half an hour before it died.

"I found it horrific and thought, 'Why did I do that?' I felt very sad that I had unnecessarily destroyed a life."

The sensitive young May was also disturbed by spraying a blackfly-infested plant in his family's garden.

"The next morning the plant was covered in this black glue," he said.

"I had killed ladybirds and everything, not just blackfly." By revealing what turned him into an animal rights champion, May admitted he would be exposing himself to "ridicule".

May also said he "hates" Prime Minister David Cameron's stance on fox-hunting, talked of a "fox Armageddon", and called his opponents "a bunch of lying b******s" who pursue fox-hunting out of "sadistic bloodlust".

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