"We Will Rock You can be good for your health. I’m happy about that. But not at all happy that scientists tortured mice to find that out": Brian May hits out at researchers who've discovered that a Queen classic contains unexpected medical benefits

Brian May
(Image credit: Sven Hoogerhuis/BSR Agency/Getty Images))

Queen guitarist Brian May has hit out at scientists who use animals for drugs testing.

May drew attention to the subject after reading a Forbes report which stated that scientists in Switzerland - from Martin Fussenegger at ETH Zurich - recently discovered that cells released insulin when We Will Rock You was played near them.

The Forbes report states, "Because the cells respond to movement created by the sound waves, certain types of music work better than others. A heavy bass proved to be quite effective. After trying a number of different sound sources, the researchers noticed that Queen’s We Will Rock You was particularly good at opening the cell’s channels for insulin to get out."

The article added, "They then implanted the capsules in mice to find out if it still works when the sound has to pass through the skin. It worked, but only if the speaker was directly placed on the mice."

Responding to the article in a post on Instagram, May called out the scientists over their use of animals in the tests, and stated, "I will NOT be celebrating this news tonight."

May's post reads: 'So! Who would have guessed?! We Will Rock You can be good for your health!!! I’m happy about that. But not at all happy that these scientists tortured mice to find that out. It’s now well known that many drugs and procedures that work in mice or rats do NOT work in humans. ‘Proving’ drugs in non-human animals was the cause of the terrible tragedy with Thalidomide some years ago. And, ethically, causing pain to one species to cure the ills of another is clearly unjustifiable. So the laws requiring tests on animals MUST be changed.

"I’m horrified that these scientists could gaily make these unfortunate animals suffer to prove a point that should have been made using human volunteers. Then I would have been smiling. But this ? It’s so easy to gloss over the disgusting way we treat animals. It has to stop. It’s high time that scientists became responsible for what they do. Time they took responsibility for the way they behave. I will NOT be celebrating this news tonight.'

Queen and Adam Lambert are set to kick off a new North American leg of their Rhapsody Tour in Baltimore, Maryland on October 4. The tour is scheduled to run through to November 11. The band will also play five Japanese shows next year. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.