Lead – wildlife impacts

Some of us have been saying this for year, but now the findings of the Lead Ammunition group are published, it is clear that the unnecessary use of lead ammunition kills, through poisoning, very large numbers of birds each year – not through hunting but through poisoning.

A quote from the findings of the Lead Ammunition Group:

Lead from ammunition can (and does) get into wildlife by several routes, mainly by ingestion by many species of bird in mistake for grit or food items, or in scavenged dead animals, or as the prey of some raptors. In areas of intensive shooting lead is taken up by some plants and soil microfauna getting into the food chain, but the research studies that have been done on this latter route are limited.

Lead from ammunition causes harm to wildlife and certainly kills some birds. Numbers are hard to be certain about, but almost certainly at least tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands annually in UK. The welfare effects in these animals, and the larger numbers that ingest sub-lethal doses, are sufficient to cause illness and can be very severe and prolonged for them.

Tens or hundreds of thousands of birds die annually from lead poisoning – non-toxic shot has been available for years!

If hunting organisations were responsible they would already have done far more to persuade shooters to stick to the law regarding use of lead shot in killing waterfowl (it’s already banned – don’t use it! (England)) but the rate of compliance with the law banning the use of lead shot (1999) has very low compliance.  this is why the findings state:

Current regulations restricting the use of lead shot in wetlands and for shooting wildfowl are apparently not achieving their aim and are insufficient for dealing with the wider risks because it is now known not to be just a wetland problem; and moreover, compliance with current regulations appears in any case to be low in England, as well as far from complete, as yet, in other countries along the flyways of wildfowl. Publicity has so far had little or no measurable effect on compliance with existing regulations.

That is a damning indictment of BASC, the Countryside Alliance and the GWCT.  They have failed to lead (pronounced leed) their industry away from lead (pronounced led).

Instead of addressing the issues of lead for wildlife they are channelling their energies into trying to get Chris Packham sacked from the BBC – an interesting insight into the minds of shooting organisations.

These organisations have known, better than almost anyne else, that perfectly good alternatives to lead have been available for years and have been adopted in other countries (with no detriment to shooting).

That is why the LAG’s findings also say:

There is no evidence to suggest that a phase out of lead ammunition and the use of alternatives would have significant drawbacks for wildlife or human health or, at least, none that carry the same scale of risks as continuing use of lead; though there are procedural, technical and R&D issues still to work on and resolve.
There is no convincing evidence on which to conclude that other options, short of replacement of lead ammunition, will address known risks to human health, especially child health.
So, there we go – what do BASC, the Countryside Alliance, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation and the Countryside Alliance say about the use of lead ammunition today?  Wildlife impacts and human health impacts – what is the response of shooting?  This is a critical moment where shooting can aim at its own foot or look to a better future. Let’s see what they choose.
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3 Replies to “Lead – wildlife impacts”

  1. I haven't seen any comments from the likes of Andy Richardson and the Countryside Alliance on the LAG draft report yet. All their guns aimed at Chris Packham at the moment!

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    1. The attack on Chris Packham is both a distraction and a disgrace, but n'owt unexpected? Tactics show true colours &c.

      "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" (Ghandi, c.1928 ish?) "We will win" (Packham, 2014)! On that basis, we're on the penultimate phase with critical mass on a roll so ....

      'Conflict of interest' (sporting interests maybe) for the owner of Iceland perhaps?

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  2. I also see the minutes of the LAG meeting from August state that "Also that the Iceland supermarket website information on game was not in line with current FSA guidance"

    Too keen to support their chums in shooting than protect their customers?

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