Morrissey has come under fire for referring to the Chinese as a "subspecies" in an interview with poet Simon Armitage for The Guardian.

A notorious vegetarian well known for his strong stance on animal rights, the former Smiths frontman made the comment in relation to China's position on animal cruelty.

"Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies."

He later reinforced the ill-advised comment by saying "If anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade - animals skinned alive - then they could not possibly argue in favour of China as a caring nation... There are no animal protection laws in China and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible."

While Morrissey has been accused of being a racist several times in the past, Armitage himself seems to suspect the singer intended to provoke such a public reaction.
"I thought at the time it was a dangerous thing to say into a tape recorder. He must have known it would make waves, he's not daft.

"But he's provocative and theatrical, and it was one of dozens of dramatic pronouncements. I'm not an apologist for that kind of remark, and couldn't ignore it.

"But clearly, when it comes to animal rights and animal welfare, he's absolutely unshakable in his beliefs. In his view, if you treat an animal badly, you are less than human. I think that was his point."

Meanwhile, Love Music Hate Racism have come out against Morrissey's comments, issuing a statement that says, "It really is just crude racism. When you start using language like 'subspecies', you are entering into dark and murky water. I don't think we would, or could, ask him to come back after that."

Others have defended Morrissey's position, and referred to a statement previously released after one of his past racial slurs.
"I abhor racism and oppression or cruelty of any kind and will not let this pass without being absolutely clear and emphatic with regard to what my position is…Racism is beyond common sense and I believe it has no place in our society."

So what do you think? Is Morrissey a racist, or does he just like animals better than people?