Animal rights activists have launched a petition to ban Metallica from headlining this year's Glastonbury festival.

The 'Enter Sandman' band are set to be the first heavy metal act to top the bill at Worthy Farm in Somerset later this month but the booking has been met with controversy and festival goers have been angered by frontman James Hetfield's support of bear hunting.

An online petition on Facebook, entitled 'Remove Metallica from Glastonbury festival for their support of bear hunting', already has more than 21,000 'likes' on the site.

James, who is an avid hunter and member of America's National Rifle Association, is set to narrate an eight-part series called 'The Hunt' on the History Channel, which focuses on the killing of Kodiak brown bears in Alaska.

The online petition was set up following the announcement and many regular festival-goers also feel the band's music isn't in keeping with Glastonbury, which is traditionally a 'hippy' event.

The Facebook page administrators describe the petition as ''an appeal to the organisers of Glastonbury to remove Metallica from their line-up due to James Hetfield's support of Big Game Hunting,'' adding, ''We believe this is incompatible with the spirit of Glastonbury and brings its good name into disrepute.''

The band - also made up of guitarist Kirk Hammett, bassist Robert Trujillo and drummer Lars Ulrich - are set to play the event along with Arcade Fire and Kasabian.