Queen star Brian May has issued a public apology after he upset Jewish leaders by comparing Britain's badger cull to genocide.

The veteran musician is fiercely opposed to pest control measures used to stop the spread of bovine Tb to cattle, and recently described an ongoing project to cull 5,000 badgers from Britain as "genocide in the countryside".

The remark sparked outrage among the U.K.'s Jewish community leaders, who branded it "wrong", "ridiculous" and "terrible" as the word is more commonly associated with the Holocaust.

May has now posted an open letter on his website apologising for any offence caused.

He writes, "My sincere apologies, of course, to anyone who felt upset by this. It would never be my intention in any way to slight the Jewish community. So many of my most loved and respected friends are Jews, and in any case, for people like us who have seen all corners of the world, racial slurs are just out of the question... I actually don't remember using the word 'genocide' last Friday, but it's possible, since I did probably 20 interviews that day, all off the cuff, and in the end you tend to lose track."

However, May goes on to make a bizarre claim that the story was "manufactured" by those in favour of Britain's badger cull in a bid to "discredit" his campaign.

He adds, "Although there are apparently genuine comments here from religious leaders, this story has been 'manufactured', as part of the continuing effort by the pro-cull lobby, to try to discredit me, smear me, because they desperately wish I would shut up - stop telling the truth... Expect to see more attempts at character assassination in the coming months... not just against me, but against anyone who stands up for wild animals."