Animal-loving rocker Brian May once allowed deer culling to take place on his land but scrapped the practice when he realised the full horror of the killings.

The Queen star, who has fought and won a longrunning battle to defend the rights of British badgers, agreed to let his plot of land in Dorset, England be guarded by a gamekeeper after he was told it would discourage poachers and "improve the health of the deer population".

It has been claimed that 23 of the "mainly young, healthy animals" were slaughtered, but last year (11) May refused to continue with the hunt after looking into the practice.

In a post on his website, he writes, "I inherited culling of deer on the land I bought in Dorset a few years ago, and was initially advised that I ought to keep it up because having a gamekeeper discouraged poachers. I had my doubts, but I was new to forest management, and realised I had much to learn.

"I decided to let it continue for a short period, observe for a while, and then take what action I felt was right. A couple of years ago, having studied the effects, I decided to stop the culling.

"I came in for some criticism for stopping it, but I believe, having now seen it close at hand, that, as far as animal welfare and land management are concerned, there was not good enough reason to cull."