Howzat!

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!

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19 Replies to “Howzat!”

  1. Its all a bit predictable, various attacks on the RSPB and conservationists in general by the usual right wing papers and professional countrymen who don't need to read the science as they have generations of folklore as evidence, a high ranking Countryside Alliance member in a prominent position at DEFRA, what are the odds a that a roll out of the Buzzard control measures is around the corner, oh a hen harrier 'brood management' too.

    I won't be surprised if there is another flurry of supposed fox attacks too with the vote on fox hunting coming up.....

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    1. It's already happening mate. See Jenkins in the Evening Standard today, although bizarrely he suggests they would vote Tory!

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    2. i am largely on your side and there is some dubious decisions going on defra, but dont for one minute think that fox attacks are made up... i can promise you on my heart they are not and i have lost two lambs and three chickens so far this spring.

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  2. Whilst "You Forgot the Birds" lack of charitable status may mean that legally it doesn’t have a public duty of openness, as a campaigning organisation it most certainly has a moral duty to be so.

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  3. As it is not a charity "You forgot about the Birds" may not have a legal duty to be transparent about who's funding its activities, but as a campaigning organisation that seeks to influence public opinion and undermine confidence in a major charity by disseminate very dubious 'information', it has a moral duty to be open about precisely who its paymasters are.

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    1. Moral(s) and duty, do such apply in cases like this and people like these?

      Open, transparent - pah, see above, rather like the politicians who 'fix-it' for them?

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  4. What utter offensive garbage by Botham. Perhaps he and Robin Page should get together in a raptor hater's bromance?
    I've seen 10 year olds write better biology essays!

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  5. Couldn't agree more with your comments Mark- lets shut this clique, raptor killing, hooray henry's hobby down for good. Rspb does however need to constantly remind itself that the birds and their protection are indeed their PRIMARY concern not people appeasement or money creation-The inept response to the T-concert in Scotland was truly pathetic. All creatures and that includes hen harriers have a right to have somewhere to live and man's activities should respect that.

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  6. Two things having just read the yftb website....

    1 Botham, yeah, yeah, not unexpected that he would come out with yet more guff...... But Martyn Howat????? Admittedly it's a long time since I've seen him but I used to work with him and feel slightly stunned. It feels like being unexpectedly savaged by your friend's previously placid and dopey Lab.

    2 I've never belonged to the RSPB and to be honest they'd never have been my first charity of choice. But I'm so sick of this recurring ill-informed crap being spouted about birds of prey that I have just joined, purely and simply to give support to fight this utter BS. I can only hope it has the same effect on others and the campaign backfires spectacularly.

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    1. What are Natural England these days other than the politicians and establishment's lap-dog? Realise that this observation is sure to attract dislikes, just as Lisa has by criticising NE management.

      Look at their (NE) resistance and appealing the Information Commissioner over the badger cull! What are they afraid of? They are a Public Body and as such accountable, but refusal to comply with ICO illustrates contempt for the public who pay their salaries, pensions etc.?

      Where are the good guys in the outfit? Surely the senior managers and directors haven't 'culled' them all yet, or have they?

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  7. I think the Grouse industry are laughing at the RSPB and Martin Harper just the same as conservationists are laughing at Beefy.
    I think the Grouse industry's worst fears are that leaders at that organisation leave and new management at least try and take some action.
    Some of what I see defies logic,we have had a Purple Heron on a local RSPB reserve for at least a week with good reporting of that on a county bird site and when we visited this reserve a RSPB shirted guy(he was obviouly in charge of a gang of volunteers) was looking across reed beds and I asked if he was looking for Purple Heron.Well he did not even know it was on their very own reserve.It was not even reported on their own blog or website.Incredible.

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