Lead and other poisons

Photo: Guy Shorrock
Photo: Guy Shorrock

In a couple of weeks time there will be a meeting in Quito of the Convention on Migratory Species.

Sounds terribly dull doesn’t it? Well maybe it will be – but maybe it won’t.

One of the areas to be discussed is poisoning.

I wonder what position our government will take on such issues that have been threaded through this blog over the years and will be discussed in Quito – issues such as neonicotinoid pesticides (see here, here, here), diclofenac as a veterinary drug (see here, here), poisoning of wildlife (see here, here and here) and the use of lead ammunition and its impacts on human health and wildlife populations (see here, here, here)?

By Lord Mountbatten (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Lord Mountbatten (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Will a British Minister be attending? What will the UK line be on the following:

  • Insecticides used on crops: 3.2. Substitute (remove from the market and replace with environmentally safe with alternatives) substances of high risk to birds and incentivise alternatives; introduce mandatory evaluation mechanisms for existing and new products,
  • Veterinary diclofenac: 3.1 Prohibit the use of veterinary diclofenac for the treatment of livestock and substitute with readily available safe alternatives, such as meloxicam ; Introduce mandatory safety-testing of NSAIDs; VICH/OECD to evaluate and provide guidance on wider risks,
  • Poison baits: Step 4: Create enforcement legislation with effective deterrent mechanisms and penalties,
  • Lead ammunition: 2.2.1. Phase-out the use of lead ammunition across all habitats (wetland and terrestrial) with non-toxic alternatives within the next three years?

I really do wonder what line the UK will take on these issues at this international meeting since it has failed almost completely to get a grip of them, or even be seen to be on the right side of the arguments, here at home.

When Dave Cameron goes off to Europe for a summit we hear lots of macho speak about how he is going to give those Europeans a piece of his mind but on, admittedly less important, matters like these we hear nothing. Why not? What is the position of ‘our’ government on these matters? Will Defra report back to the electorate in any way at all?  Will it admit to being one of the blocks to progress if, indeed, it takes its domestic position abroad? Will it give us all the chance to say ‘Well done!’ if it is one of the good guys?

I fear that Defra’s position might well be to follow the instructions of the NFU, BASC and Countryside Alliance.  How will we know? Would Ms Truss like to tell us, please?




3 Replies to “Lead and other poisons”

  1. The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) was set up by the U.N.

    CMS is global rather than European.

    Advice to the British government is given by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) on the appropriateness of protection proposals, on the interpretation, application and implementation of the Convention and its agreements.

    The JNCC encourages participation by interested parties in its consultations.


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