The backlash begins…

By Lord Mountbatten (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Lord Mountbatten (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Governments from across the world, including the UK, decided over the weekend that lead ammunition should be phased out urgently – for the sake of wildlife and people.

Not being able to see a mouth without sticking their feet in it, BASC and the Countryside Alliance oppose this move on grounds that they don’t explain. Presumably because it is slightly inconvenient for a few of their members.


BASC Chief Executive Richard Ali said: ‘The guidelines adopted at the conference are not evidence-based and ignore the principles of better regulation. They also ignore the regulations already in place in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, which are designed to reduce any risk to migratory waterfowl in their feeding grounds.’

Yeeeess. But the regulations aren’t working because shooters aren’t law-abiding.  Seven out of 10 wildfowl sold in gamedealers etc contain lead shot – that should be none of them.  And almost half of shooters, BASC shooters, say that they don’t bother with the law on using lead ammunition.  It’s a bit like Hen Harriers, everybody says they love them, everybody says the law protects them – but it doesn’t, because people with guns break the law.  If I were you, Richard, I wouldn’t highlight the illegal activities of people with guns quite so much.

Countryside Alliance:

Tim Bonner: ‘There is no evidence of any migratory species, other from wildfowl, being affected by lead ammunition in the UK.’

Duhh!  Wildfowl don’t count then? And you are a wildfowler. There is no evidence that any people in the UK will be affected by a ban on lead ammunition except people who use lead ammunition, so that’s OK.


We are going to see more ridiculous statements like this as the Lead Ammunition Group produces its final report which is likely to recommend very serious changes in the use of lead ammunition in England.


In other news…

Raptor Persecution Scotland (such an excellent website) have photographs of a lot of dead pheasants and partridges dumped on a Scottish estate and quote that same Tim Bonner of the CA as saying this never happens.  As is pointed out, and as this blog has suggested in the past, there are a lot of gamebirds which are feeding the predators that gamekeepers moan about all the time. How about not putting so much meat into the countryside, chaps?

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11 Replies to “The backlash begins…”

  1. You just knew they were going to come out with negative responses, Shooting has two campaigns running side by side, one is to try and get more people to eat game whilst the other one is to campaign against banning lead shot. The following is a quote from BASC website. “Let me make BASC’s position on lead totally clear: no sound evidence, no change.”
    Try taking some lead shot game around schools and ask parents to sign a disclaimer to say its ok for their kids to eat game that might contain lead shot, it isn’t going to happen, one campaign blasts the other out of the sky, I’ve said it before shootings problems exist because the rot is at the top clinging to power, no vision and firmly stuck in the past

  2. I think a bit of further research into the amount of carrion put out into the wider countryside via game releases is needed urgently. Only today was I driving across Whitfield estate in the North Pennines, observing the usually large numbers of dead and soon to be dead non-native pheasants all over the road. I can't help but wonder how many generalist predators this is supporting? This estate also sits at the heart of good black grouse and wild grey partridge populations - I wonder what effect via competition and disease transmission they could be having on our native species?

  3. Instead of making the USE of lead shot illegal, surely making the SALE of lead shot illegal would be much more effective. That's how it worked with the fishermen so why not here?
    As for the people mentioned here, maybe they still want asbestos in their children's schools? NO? I wonder why not?

  4. Dave Mannifield took the thoughts right off of my fingers...absolutely right. I note the UK Government initially objected to this proposal.
    Reading the report on this conference in the Guardian on-line I was aware that for once wildlife, conservation and the environment were not being used as 'dirty-words.'

  5. It would be good to see critical remarks concerning lead shot accompanied by criticisms of steel shot as well.

    Steel shot is the cause, worldwide, of many more birds being shot and wounded rather than killed outright and should also be banned.

    A comprehensive ban of lead shot is well overdue.

    Large scale production of non toxic, non steel, alternatives will bring prices down to affordable levels for the many countrymen who do not enjoy high incomes but who do prefer shooting for the pot, a great day in the countryside, over a visit to the supermarket to buy a factory chicken killed in heaven knows what circumstances.

    1. The article you link to doesn't actually support the assertion about steel shot crippling large numbers of birds, Monro. The author explains how problems relating to the inferior ballistic properties of steel compared to lead have been addressed as well as the problem of greater barrel-wear. He concludes that steel shot cartridges can now offer similar performance to lead without the toxicity. The main remaining problem with steel that he acknowledges is the higher price than lead shot. He also discusses the options of bismuth and tungsten shot, the latter as a mixture of tungsten and steel powders bound together with a polymer.

      1. Essentially, you have three choices with steel. Go for bigger shot sizes to get sufficient striking energy on target, so reducing the number of pellets, limiting shot pattern density, effective patterning on target.

        Use normal shot sizes to give you a killing pattern but at a significantly reduced effective range, due to lower velocity/striking energy.

        Use a much heavier shotgun, say 8 bore, to get a steel load with both sufficient pattern and striking energy, but an 8 bore is too heavy to be practical, most of the time, and using large No. 2 shot will make killed birds less fit for the table.

        'we up the velocity of the No. 2 steel shot to 1,500 fps and what we get at 40 yards is a remaining velocity of 737 fps and energy of 4.29 ft.-lb., which is virtually identical to the figures for lead shot (of No 4 shot size, much smaller, better pattern).

        Consequently, users of steel shot generally stick with 12 bores, try and shoot at 45 yards, as with lead, and consistently wound more birds.

        Bismuth seems to be the way forward.

  6. So lead shot is to be phased out to the chagrin of the shooting community. Steel shot won't satisfy them because it doesn't have the mass. So there's an ideal alternative; better mass than lead, and the after-effect of shooters consuming their victims will be most satisfying for those of us who actually value our birds in their live state. How about Depleted Uranium, chaps?

    1. Nah. Never catch on. Too much admin.

  7. Someone here mentioned barrel wear from steel shot. That would be true except that the shot is encased in a plastic sleeve with wad for the entire journey along the barrel.

    The scattering of huge amounts of lead on the moors and fields of these shooting estates must be having disastrous effects in our waters. Think about it, each killed bird will have about an ounce or 25 grammes, most of this finishes on the ground. Now multiply that by the ammo used, an average shoot kills 250 birds or more, some shots miss their target, erring on the cautious side, perhaps 300 x 26g = 7.8kg of lead scattered. That's just one small shoot, on one day! It doesn't take long to accumulate tonnes of lead on the moors and fields. The acidity of the moorland environment will dissolve lead into easily moveable lead salts. All moorlands feed our rivers and eventually the sea. We remove water from rivers to supply the population, hence we are being poisoned.

    I like the idea of depleted uranium for the adverse effects on the shooters but it is impractical, pity.

    Maybe, high lead concentrations in the food, of the wealthy estate owners, accounts for their diminutive brain activity and anti-social behaviour? What does that say about our government?

    I have another idea. Tell the scrap metal merchants and travelling folk about the riches to be had on these moors! Lead will make their eyes sparkle!


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