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Brian May 'disgusted' by Jack FM's 'cook it or keep it' Christmas turkey poll

The Queen guitarist criticised Oxfordshire's Jack FM

Antonia Molloy
Friday 12 December 2014 12:31 GMT
Brian May is a well-known vegetarian
Brian May is a well-known vegetarian (Getty)

Brian May has expressed his disgust at an Oxfordshire radio’s poll to decide whether a pair of turkeys should live or die this Christmas.

The Queen guitarist and well-known vegetarian made his views about Jack FM’s festive stunt clear on Twitter, after the station asked listeners to decide whether to “cook it or keep it” in reference to two birds named Sage and Onion.

Dr May tweeted:

Dr May told The Independent: "I don’t know all the context for this radio promotion, so I am willing to be corrected. I find this stunt intrinsically offensive, but of course choosing life or death for turkeys as well as all the other animals we eat is exactly what we do every day.

"I’m wondering if the people behind this are actually mindful of highlighting the cruelty involved and thereby making people think again about their eating habits - especially at Christmas time - a time, supposedly, of good will towards all creatures. Isn’t that what it is?!"

He went on: "Let’s work on the idea of a cruelty-free Christmas. It’s never too late to start. I’ll certainly not be responsible for the death of a fattened bird this time around. And I’ll feel better for it. How about you?"

His is the most prominent voice among a chorus of repugnance and anger towards the poll, which is being overseen by morning show presenters Trevor Marshall and Caroline Verdon. Verdon wants to keep the turkeys, while Trevor wants to eat them.

The RSPCA has also asked Jack FM to rethink. Harriet Cawley, a spokeswoman for the RSPCA told the Oxford Times: “We do not see the entertainment value in killing an animal for this purpose.

“We would strongly urge the radio production team to rethink this stunt.”

She added: “While we appreciate this is intended as a light-hearted festive feature the RSPCA opposes practices that have the potential to cause animals pain, suffering or death in the name of entertainment.”

And on social media there has been an outpouring of outrage as users have branded the poll “sick”, “callous” and a “publicity stunt”.

On Facebook some of the reactions included: “This is disgusting and senseless, unbelievable. I will never listen to your show!”

And one user said: “A cheap, callous and cruel publicity stunt. Desperate for listeners to your station are you?”

However, some users were more sympathetic to the cause.

One Facebook user wrote: “All of you who are going to eat your turkey over the Christmas period let's get real. This 'stunt' is an absolutely brilliant way to bring reality into the forefront of people's minds as to what it means being a meat eater […].”

And another posted: “Oh dear Jack, seems so many people have missed the point here. Anyway, cook it, that is what they are bred for, as are most farm animals.”

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