- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Queen guitarist Brian May blamed meat-eaters for the coronavirus pandemic, stating in an interview Wednesday that the crisis should cause people to reconsider what they consume.

“If you want to get deep into it, I think we should be looking again at whether we should be eating animals,” Mr. May, 72, told British music magazine NME, according to the outlet.

“That’s a central issue here, this pandemic seemed to come from people eating animals and it’s becoming more well known that eating animals is not the greatest thing for our health,” Mr. May said in the interview, NME reported.

The precise origins of the novel coronavirus causing the pandemic are currently unknown. But experts including those at the World Health Organization have said it likely appeared first in bats before being transmitted to humans through another animal, and several of the first known infections have been traced to a market in China selling live and freshly slaughtered animals.

China has since faced pressure from abroad to regulate or shutter the country’s so-called “wet markets,” including recently by another rock musician in arguably the same ilk as Mr. May.

“Let’s hope that they will say, ‘OK, guys, we have really got to get super hygienic around here,’” Beatles co-founder Paul McCartney told radio host Howard Stern on Tuesday.

“I mean, let’s face it,” Mr. McCartney said during an interview. “It is a little bit medieval eating bats.”

Mr. May formed Queen in 1970 with vocalist Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor. The band has performed in various iterations since the singer’s death in 1991, and the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a decade later.

Speaking to NME, Mr. May said he recently began eating an exclusively plant-based and that he plans to encourage others to do the same.

“I haven’t been preachy about it, but now we’ve seen more of the effects of how eating animals has brought us to our knees as a species, I think it’s time to re-examine our world in a way that doesn’t abuse other species,” Mr. May added. “Whether we will see that happen, I don’t know, but I think I will start to be a bit more preachy about veganism because to me it is the way forward, in so many ways.”

Although not an epidemiologist, Mr. May does hold an advanced degree in a different scientific field. The legendary British rock guitarist received a Ph.D. in astrophysics in 2007 from Imperial College in London.

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