The RSPCA was quick to distance itself from a diatribe from Brian May in which he compared critics of the charity to paedophiles.
The musician and campaigner said arguing against RSPCA prosecutions was like saying paedophiles should not be put on trial, and singled out “the Countryside Alliance, elements of the National Farmers Union, elements of the press and media and elements of the very government of this country” for criticism.
The RSPCA has come under scrutiny for its increased focus on prosecutions – it increased its spend on bringing cases to court by £2.5m in 2012 – but Mr May described this criticism as “a vicious, calculated attempt to discredit the RSPCA and destroy its powers to prevent cruelty to animals.”
He went on to say that permitting a badger cull would “set the value of every wild mammal at zero” and could lead to the return of bear-baiting and badger-baiting in the UK.
This came as TV presenter Clarissa Dickson Wright urged the public to stop donating to the RSPCA until it returned its focus to helping domestic animals as opposed to pursuing public prosecutions.
Also this month, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby ended a long history of Church involvement with the RSPCA by turning down a role as vice-patron of the charity.
But the RSPCA did not appear keen to be associated with Mr May’s words, saying “any words expressed are his own”.