The former England captain was speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live about his scheme to give 10,000 pheasants and partridges to the County Food Trust where the birds will be turned into casseroles and curries and distributed through charities.
But ‘Beefy’ started to get riled when presenter Rachel Burden raised the issue of shooting birds for sport, and suggested that’s why some people had concerns with his plans.
Here’s a taste of the encounter ...
And the row spilled over to Twitter ...
But it’s arguably not the most awkward interview on hunting in his career ...
In 1986, at the height of his fame, the Somerset-born cricket legend was given a rough ride by a bunch of Scottish school children.
The clip from the Open to Question show has latterly delighted social media as ‘Beefy’ again holds forth on shooting, as well as childcare, Margaret Thatcher and drugs.
The whole interview is well worth a watch ...
The clip begins with an increasingly exasperated Botham getting a grilling over not changing nappies based on a comment he seemingly made in an interview.
He dismisses the suggestion it’s “women’s work”, adding: “If you want to change nappies, change nappies. It’s a free world. That’s why my father fought in the Second World War.”
Quizzed on hunting, he dismisses anti-blood sport activists as “townies” and argues “there are more deer in this country than in the day’s of King Henry VIII. Fact”. ″Why? You drive out into the country. you see pheasant, you see partridge. Why? Because syndicates put them down.”
Asked whether he thought nature would keep animals in check rather than humans killing them, Botham referred to a cancelled culling in northern Scotland that led to young calves and older animals being killed by stronger “beasts”. He then responded to his questioner:
Botham: “Do you eat meat?
Young audience member: “Yes, I do.”
Botham: “Then I suggest you go and see how meat is reared, then you tell me if we’re cruel going out on to the fields. At least those birds live their life in the country.”
The sportsman was then asked almost the identical question put to him on Radio 5 Live more than 30 years later. Asked whether it was “primitive” that people got a “kick out of killing creatures”, he replied: “Well, I think there’s a lot worse things in society than that. And I believe that most people who go out are genuine country people. I can only speak for myself, I get no great thrill.”