LEGENDARY Queen guitarist and veteran animal welfare campaigner Brian May blasted government plans for a badger cull at a public meeting in Stroud over the weekend.

The 64-year-old former rock star and founder of animal charity Save Me, described the proposed killing of badgers as an ‘imminent tragedy’.

During an address to an audience of around 70 people packed inside the Old Town Hall in Stroud on Saturday morning, he said the government’s policy was cruel, ill-conceived and scientifically flawed.

Mr May said shooting badgers would not eradicate or significantly reduce bovine TB in cows and was only being undertaken to appease the farming lobby.

Earlier on, attendees heard from Dr Chris Cheeseman, a badger expert and ex-director of the Central Science Laboratory's research facility at Woodchester Park.

Dr Cheeseman said the scientific evidence did not support a cull – the costs of which would have to be borne by the taxpayer.

Plans drawn up by Defra for two pilot culls in west Gloucestershire and west Sommerset are currently the subject of a legal challenge from the Badger Trust.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate, former MP David Drew, told those seated inside the hall that the government’s present policy was unscientific and unethical, and called for the coalition to perform a U-turn.

Representatives of Gloucestershire Badger Group and Stroud 100 also spoke at the meeting, which was organised by the Badger Trust.