You might see some coverage in the papers today that has been generated by a press release from You Forgot the Birds – but probably not much coverage. You’ll remember that these are the people, ‘led’ by Sir Ian Botham, who tried to give the RSPB a hard time last autumn and succeeded in stiffening the RSPB’s resolve (maybe not enough, but it did need a bit of stiffening) and bringing the RSPB membership even more fully behind the society’s position on grouse, Hen Harriers etc.
I’ll not go into what the press release says because it’s wrong and pathetically wrong.
It’s interesting to read that Sir Ian Botham is the gamekeeper’s champion.
But more interesting on the press release sent out by Ian Gregory is point 9 right at the foot of the release:
9. The You Forgot The Birds Campaign is funded by the British grouse industry.
Well, that doesn’t come as much of a surprise but it’s good to know that all those attacks on the RSPB are funded by the grouse ‘industry’. I wondered what the grouse industry was, so I thought that a phone call to Ian Gregory might be in order. He was a little surprised to hear from me, and certainly knew who I was, but couldn’t really help me with who the British grouse industry was. I tried to help him by asking whether they were a bunch of individuals or organisations and he thought for a while and said that he supposed we were all individuals when it came down to it. He said a range of people were involved; gamekeepers, suppliers and trade associations. He also pointed out that You Forgot the Birds is not a charity and therefore doesn’t have a public duty of openness.
But we do now know, for sure rather than just from years of experience, that the badly aimed attacks on the RSPB (an imperfect but generally pretty brilliant organisation) were by those who profit from grouse shooting.
I’ll be launching another e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting as soon as the government opens up the site. Maybe the RSPB Council would like to reconsider its position a year on, now that the evidence has grown for harmful impacts of management for driven grouse shooting on ecosystem services, after the disappearance of three adult Hen Harriers in Bowland this spring, and after a campaign against the RSPB itself reveals itself to be funded by the grouse shooting industry. If you can’t recognise your enemies,and the enemies of everything you hold dear, under those circumstances then when can you?
Robin Page, grouse shooters, pigeon racers all attacking the RSPB over birds of prey – and an ex-Countryside Alliance staff member a Defra minister (confirmed by Defra but not yet by No10 website – they might be having second thoughts or might be ashamed). Now is the time to stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood and disguise fair nature with hard-tempered rage. C’mon RSPB, don’t be a pussy cat, roar like a tiger!