Added on 14-Mar-2006
Rock legend Brian May has added his voice to calls for an end to an island's hedgehog cull.More than 500 of the creatures have been killed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) because they pose a threat to ground-nesting birds and their eggs.
The operation is due to resume again in the Outer Hebrides this year.
Animal rights campaigners, including Uist Hedgehog Rescue, who have saved some of the animals from previous culls, claim the killings are inhumane.
Now Queen guitarist May has written to SNH chairman John Markland outlining his concerns about the operation.
He said: "For some time I have been aware that hedgehogs on the Uists are being killed for 'conservation' purposes.
"As someone who believes that all animals are worthy of respect, this is of great concern to me. I understand that scientific evidence shows that hedgehogs can be translocated successfully.
"I therefore cannot understand why on earth SNH is continuing with the policy of unnecessarily killing these animals.
"I urge Scottish Natural Heritage to reconsider any plans it has to continue slaughtering these healthy wild animals in 2006. Instead, please work with the Uist Hedgehog Rescue experts to relocate these animals to the mainland where they can live out their lives."
Other celebrities supporting the hedgehog rescue campaign include Joanna Lumley, Sir Paul McCartney, Sting and Sir Tim Rice.