UK

Brian May Comes Under Fire For Badger Cull Is 'Genocide' Comment

11/09/2013 15:51 BST | Updated 11/09/2013 15:56 BST
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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 05: Brian May attends The Mercury Phoenix Trust Queens Aids Benefit at One Mayfair on September 5, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Brian May has come under fire for describing the controversial badger cull as 'genocide in the countryside'.

The Former Queen guitarist's comment was branded "dreadful" and "inflammatory", the Telegraph said.

May, who has fought hard against the government's plans for a cull, made the remark during a visit to Gloucestershire, one of the areas where it has already started.

Ministers insist the killings are needed to counter the threat of bovine TB.

May's choice of language, using a word usually associated with the mass death of humans, has caused offence amongst the Jewish community.

"The use of the word 'genocide' in this context is simply wrong," said Rabbi Anna Gerrard of the Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Community.

"From an etymological point of view genocide means 'killing of people'.

"In particular I think high profile people need to be careful when they take a word like that out of context, especially when using it to emote others.

"From a Jewish perspective obviously it makes people think of the Holocaust, in which not only were many people killed but they were dehumanised to make that killing seem acceptable.

"It has the potential to cause offence but I think that most people would just see it as a ridiculous thing to say."