RSPB under attack from the shooting lobby


​Society rounds on campaigners it claims are acting on behalf of blood sports enthusiasts

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24th October 2014 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

The shooting lobby has been blamed for a smear on the works of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The organisation reacted angrily to claims made by a new campaign group – fronted by cricket legend Ian Botham – which questions how the society’s annual £122 million income is spent.

Called You Forgot The Birds, the group claims to speak on behalf of ordinary donors.

However, the RSPB said the campaign represents a direct attack from the shooting lobby, which opposes the charity’s policies on field sports.

This is the shooting fraternity engaging in a flimsy and ill-advised attempt at a broadside at the RSPB because they don’t like our position on field sports

As well as Botham, You Forgot The Birds is backed by TV presenter Sir Johnny Scott and former Natural England director Martyn Howat.

Botham runs a commercial shoot in North Yorkshire, Howat is a former chairman of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation’s governing council and Scott is a well-known field sports enthusiast.

James Reynolds of RSPB Scotland said: “This is quite obviously members of the shooting fraternity engaging in a rather flimsy and ill-advised attempt at a broadside at the RSPB simply because they don’t like the strong position we are adopting on field sports.

 “It’s also rather telling that they have refused to reveal who their donors are whilst seeking to criticise our accounts.

“If these people really cared about the health of our wildlife and habitats, they would join us in tackling and finding solutions to the very real and imminent threats facing birds and other nature, rather than crudely misrepresenting our finances.”

The launch of the campaign was timed to coincide with the RSPB’s AGM on Saturday (25 October).