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Rachel's shooting spree - hardly what audi wanted for a free €75,000 4X4

THERE'S no such thing as bad publicity, or so the saying goes.

But is that the case for Audi today as the luxury car manufacturer is getting used to having its Q7 splashed across news pages, with a host of dead birds splayed across its bonnet?

The image -- straight from the Sarah Palin collection -- comes compliments of celebrity carnivore and Audi brand ambassador Rachel Allen, and it has offended the 'right-on' animal rights brigade to the point of frenzy.

And it may very well have put a dint in Audi's finely constructed corporate image.

The picture was taken over the holiday period and was hailed by Rachel as "a great day's shooting, where I managed to get a few birds for our St Stephen's Day lunch".

Apart from the fact Rachel Allen doesn't have to horse down the leftover turkey on the day after Christmas, does she really have to display her clear enjoyment in killing things so publicly?

Now the hug-a-badger brigade are not the type of people who will ever drive a €75k Q7, but could their ire have spread across the divide between good and poor taste?

Audi will be more than happy with the portrayal of their top-end luxury SUV being cast as an all-round country carriage for the gentrified Ms Allen.

But even they will get a little queasy today with the image of the beaming gun slinger showing off a teaming bounty of dead birds just inches above the famous four circles.

Even I, a country-living, meat-savaging, SUV-loving boor, finds the image of dead animals strewn across the front of a car like some sort of mass road-kill somewhat troubling.

And this is not really what Audi had in mind when they signed up chef Rachel last November.

They wanted a yummy mummy on the school run before she drives home to run her ever-growing global brand.

Ms Allen said as much recently: "As a working mum I spend a lot of time on the road between filming commitments and playing chauffeur to my children so the Q7 is ideal for me."

Now what Rachel should have said was: "As a working mum I spend a lot of time out in fields shooting and killing innocent little birds, before I chuck 'em on the Q7 and watch the blood drip down onto the badge."

Of course the picture of Ms Allen in all her country finery smacks of privilege and wealth, which of course is enough to rub the masses up the wrong way, let alone the lefties.

But animal nuts aside, the rest of us will hope the next time Rachel Allen kills for her supper she will not rub our noses in it.