YFTB attacks the RSPB again

Presumably as a result of the RSPB’s strong criticism of Natural England’s decision to license a trial of brood meddling and the RSPB’s support for Ed Hutchings’s e-petition in favour of licensing of driven grouse shooting (other e-petitions are available) YFTB has dusted off its attacks on the RSPB.

In a press release issued by Ian Gregory of Abzed Communications Ian Botham is quoted as saying ‘Given that that the RSPB constantly criticises gamekeepers over hen harriers the public would expect the charity to be doing better than everyone else. Yet it consistently does less well. I hope that the RSPB will reflect on whether its confrontational approach is distracting it from looking after birds.‘ and ‘Gamekeepers are proud that they create some of Britain’s best bird reserves. The RSPB’s publicity suggests that hen harriers are its highest priority species. If it really wants to help these birds I recommend that it experiments with putting gamekeepers in charge of its reserves.‘.

The RSPB replied ‘This is a very tired and hollow argument from the same old apologists for the damaging driven grouse shooting industry. The low breeding numbers of this spectacular bird show precisely the threats it faces from the continuation of this intensive land use; there should be 300 breeding pairs in England alone. That there are in fact more hen harriers breeding on a single RSPB nature reserve (Loch Gruinart, Islay) than in the whole of England shows exactly how baseless this attack is.

If this industry focussed on eradicating illegal killing of birds of prey within its ranks it would do a lot more to help ensure more people can enjoy seeing these magnificent birds right across the UK.‘.


According to the press release ‘Sir Ian Botham runs the You Forgot The Birds campaign which represents the views of grouse moors.’.  The Times refers to YFTB as Ian Botham’s charity but it doesn’t seem very charitable to me and appears not to be listed by the Charity Commission.

Ian Gregory once called for grouse moors to be subsidised by you, the taxpayer.

Ian Gregory’s Abzed admits on its website that its approach to criticism of grouse shooting was ‘to turn the spotlight on RSPB’ – this is another example of that approach.

Back in August 2016 in a revealing and interesting article by John Vidal in the Guardian, YFTB was described as appearing to be ‘a classic “astroturfing” PR operation that gives the impression of a grassroots operation, suggesting the public and landowners all hate the RSPB, but which actually represents the views of very few anonymous landowners.‘.


It’s always encouraging when the grouse moor industry, represented by Ian Botham, gets nasty – it usually means they are worried.  Worry them some more by signing this e-petition to put them out of business completely.





8 Replies to “YFTB attacks the RSPB again”

  1. Strongly suggest formal complaint to Times under Editors Code (clause 1 accuracy) for describing YFTB as a charity. Times will refute the allegation so you then complain to IPSO and Times will have to print a correction. Simples!

    1. Erroneous statements simply help our cause, once respected newspapers making elementary mistakes loses them credibility?

      Failing to checking via the GOV.UK gateway to the Charity Commission website, lazy?

      Believing spin bowlers is foolish but maybe they too have eaten too many toxic lead grouse burgers?

      First they ignore ‘us’, then they laugh at ‘us’, then they fight (think we’re at this chapter) & then ‘we’ win.

      Thanks to Mark and this blog, thanks to RPUK and their splendid exposes there is far more information being made available to the public and it’s media that can’t be managed by the establishment manipulators? Long may this continue and with help like this from Botham et. al. then how much longer before the ‘tradition’ is like the empty cartridges littering the countryside, spent?

  2. YFTB is based on a false premise, an absolute lie. The primary premise of this fake organization is that the RSPB should stick to managing it’s reserves rather than campaigning against the illegal persecution of raptors by shooting interests. In other words this presupposes that the primary role of the RSPB is managing reserves and not campaigning against the persecution of birds.

    A quick perusal of the history of the RSPB proves that the tacit and fundamental premise of YFTB is a falsehood, a lie. The RSPB was founded as a campaigning organization to prevent the persecution of birds. In fact the RSPB got it’s Royal Charter in 1904 when it was purely a campaigning organization, campaigning against the persecution of birds. The first RSPB reserve was purchased in 1930, yet the origins of the RSPB were in the late 19th Century. This more than proves that the primary role of the RSPB is not managing reserves as YFTB falsely claims, and that campaigning to prevent the persecution of birds and any threat to them has always been their purpose.

    Therefore the fundamental premise of of YFTB, that they RSPB should stick to managing it’s reserve rather than campaigning against the persecution of birds, and investigating the illegal persecution of birds, as if this were a new direction for the RSPB, is totally false. As you can find these facts so easily those behind YFTB must be well aware of this and so are being knowingly disingenuous with their arguments.

  3. I sometimes become exasperated by the RSPB’s lack of action on certain issues but the efforts of the shooting industry to do it harm always ensure that I remain a member. So, good work YFTB! The interesting thing is that it is the efforts of private individuals who are really making waves for the industry and not the RSPB. I think their main concern is that the RSPB will really start campaigning, as they should, against the damaging effects of unregulated shooting.

  4. Keep speaking up RSPB, there will always be critics but without you the birds wont have a claw to stand on.

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