The British Birdwatching Fair, aka the Birdfair, takes place each August at Rutland Water, in the old county of Rutland. Since its inception in 1989, the Birdfair has grown into the largest gathering of nature conservation organisations in Europe, attended by 1000s of conservation-minded people. The Birdfair gives organisations from around the world the opportunity to showcase their work and raises a large sum of money for nature conservation projects.

The League Against Cruel Sports has been attending the event for a number of years, thanks mainly to the efforts of the League’s Midlands Support Group, and in particular John Cooper, who each years builds an impressive League display stand that takes a dominant position in one of the main marquees.

This year the focus of the League’s Birdfair stand was the National Trust vote to stop allowing so-called trail hunting, a cynical cover for illegal hunting, on its land and to clamp down on those hunts that use Trust land without permission.

Hundreds of people visited the League’s stand during the course of the 3 day event, many of whom were already supporters, but a equal number who were learning about the League’s work for the first time. A gamekeeper who visited the stand, presumably expecting to find a group of ignorant ‘townies’, left saying he wouldn’t talk to us again, although it is doubtful he would change his ways. A few celebrities, such as Chris Packham and Bill Oddie (pictured above), also popped by to show their support.