Sir Ian Botham threatens to boycott the BBC

Sir Ian Botham has threatened to boycott the BBC after angry exchanges with a radio interviewer over his plans to give pheasants to the poor.

The former England cricket star has pledged to donate 10,000 pheasants and partridges that are shot on his estate to food banks. 

The 61-year-old has vowed to pay to turn the pheasants into casseroles and the partridges into curries, in a scheme costing around £40,000. For every meal bought, one will be donated to the homeless.

But in an interview on Radio 5 Live earlier this week Sir Ian, knighted for charity work in 2007, became agitated when presenter Rachel Burden, 42, raised the controversy over shooting birds for sport, interrupting her and accusing her of 'having an agenda'.

He has now threatened never to speak to the Beeb again over claims it ambushed him on air with an 'anti-shooting agenda'.

During the interview, Botham regularly interrupted Burden, accused her of 'having an agenda' and told her to 'stop listening to people like Chris Packham'. 

As the two bickered live on air, co-host Nicky Campbell intervened and praised Sir Ian for the scheme.

Sir Ian said the BBC had tried to 'to stir up every animal rights controversy they could think of and link it to my name'. 

He told The Times: 'It is now clear to me that the BBC's approach was part of an anti-shooting agenda and there was never any intention of talking about creative ways to fight poverty.

'I will never be speaking to the BBC again in any capacity unless something significant comes of this complaint. BBC 5 Live asked me to talk about a charity that is trying to do some good. I agreed in good faith, thinking everyone would want to support our efforts to help people in need.' 

Sir Ian (left) has pledged to donate 10,000 pheasants and partridges that are shot on his estate to the poor

Sir Ian (left) has pledged to donate 10,000 pheasants and partridges that are shot on his estate to the poor

Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden pressed the cricket legend on his plans to give pheasant casserole and partridge curry to the poor 

Radio 5 Live presenter Rachel Burden pressed the cricket legend on his plans to give pheasant casserole and partridge curry to the poor 

During the tense interview, Sir Ian said: 'We rear the birds, we shoot birds, the birds have a normal life – we don't shoot every bird we raise, believe me; nowhere near it.'

Miss Burden said: 'I think that's where a lot of people perhaps have some trouble with shooting as a sport. We know that millions of birds, up to 50million birds, are bred each year to be shot as a sport.'

Interrupting her, Sir Ian said: 'And how many chickens? How many chickens are bred with a six-week life?' 

Miss Burden replied saying that it is the shooting for sport that some have a problem with.' 

But Sir Ian laughed and said: 'And what's the issue?'

To this she said: 'Some people might find it hard to get their heads around killing animals for sport.' 

He then gave an impassioned defence of the scheme to donate game birds in an effort to provide 500,000 free meals each year.

The meals are donated to those in need by the Country Food Trust through charities including FareShare, Veterans Aid and the Salvation Army. 

He said: 'We are trying to help 14million people in this country who go without a proper feed. For every single [pheasant casserole and partridge curry] bought by the public, we will donate one. I don't see what your problem is with that.'

Miss Burden then asked if there was a connection between grouse shooting and the decimation of the hen harrier population. 

Sir Ian said: 'There's no connection. You

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