This response from M&S at 1653 this afternoon – just so that you know I haven’t been sitting on it.
It seems that M&S are beginning to get their heads around these matters.
No promise to do anything about labelling on the issues surrounding lead. I suggest that either M&S label all their shot game products as follows: ‘May contain lead shot. Lead is a poison.’ or, perhaps more realistically, that M&S stipulate that they will only accept game shot with non-toxic ammunition and then label ‘May contain non-toxic shot’.
I wonder what proportion of red grouse are shot with non-toxic shot? Very few I think – what do you shooting experts say?
This reply pushes the issues back to their supplier – Yorkshire Game – and says that M&S complies with the law. Those don’t sound to me like lengths of which M&S should be ‘incredibly proud’ – they sound like ‘shorts’ to me rather than ‘lengths’.
But at least it’s a start – a rather late start, but a start. M&S now score 5/10 for customer relations – quite a jump in my estimation of them.
Dear Dr Avery
Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our game sourcing policy. At M&S we are incredibly proud of the lengths we go to in our sourcing policies and our commitment to offer our customers choice.
All M&S game comes from a single game supplier, Yorkshire Game who sources and works closely with selected, known estates across Northern England and the Scottish Borders. Game management is an integral part of estate and farm management throughout the UK. It is our requirement that estates operate to the industry’s Code of Good Shooting Practice and the Defra Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Game Birds (www.defra.gov.uk).
With regard to lead shot, there are a number of regulations governing the use and type of shot dependent on the game species and the geographical area of a shoot. Traditionally shot would have been made of lead but today there are many alternative materials that can be used. All types of shot, including lead will be used on the estates where our game is sourced. Whilst every effort is made to remove all shot, due to the nature of the product it may contain shot so we clearly label all game products to alert customers that it ‘may contain shot’.
We work with our supplier to ensure they source from estates which protect and enhance natural habitats for a bio-diverse landscape. As a minimum, they ensure that all estates comply with legislation. A key success factor in protecting high conservation habitats is ensuring that they are recognised as adding value to rural communities. This is why we believe that sourcing game from well managed estates is an important contributor to encouraging and supporting a bio-diverse landscape. We are committed to working closely with these estates to improve estate management as part of our Farming for the Future programme.
Thanks once again for taking the time to contact us.