Tim Bonner – butcher that!

A couple of weeks ago I suggested that you remember this quote from the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, Tim Bonner, ‘There is very little clear, peer-reviewed evidence, of any problem to human health and the environment from lead ammunition that can’t be solved with clear advice on things such as how to butcher game meat properly.’

The quote is interesting (only a bit) because it represented a shift of position by the CA to admitting that there is a problem with lead but claiming that it can be solved by proper butchering.  Lead in game meat does provide a human health problem, we already know that, and there is more evidence coming along to strengthen that already strong position – watch this space.

Proper butchering of game meat can reduce lead levels: it’s a good idea to remove meat within about 30cm of the bullet trajectory in deer. Bit tricky to go for a 30cm removal of meat in a partridge, Red Grouse or Pheasant eh?  I never thought I would hear the boss of the Countryside Alliance promoting the vegetarian option!

Just in case Tim Bonner has never looked carefully at a gamebird here are a couple of partridges…

Patridge carcasses - Copy


I can’t remember which is which, but one of these partridges has five lead shot in it, and the other has six individual shot. Can you see the entry holes? And even if you can, do you know which direction the shot went? And how far?  And then, of course, we aren’t trying to remove the shot themselves – because we assume that they will be removed by us spitting them out – it’s the tiny shards and fragments of lead spread through the carcasse that cause the high average lead levels. How, pray , do you butcher them out?

I think Tim Bonner is talking out of his…

Red Grouse carcasses 2- Copy-1


17 Replies to “Tim Bonner – butcher that!”

  1. I don’t know whether Tim Bonner speaks from below or not but what is true and has been known for sometime is that lead is a problem in birds shot for human consumption. The recent X rays on this blog have really brought home that message. It’s all well and good to talk about it and know it in principle but to see it so clearly demonstrated really brings home the message. Nearly all the pheasant I eat these days has either no lead (not shot) or one pellet in its head. I’m truly grateful that I haven’t eaten huge amounts of shotgun shot game in the past. May be Tim Bonner and his cohorts have——–it would explain an awful lot about the CAs position on so many things.
    Whats the problem? We need lead ammunition banning NOW.

  2. Wonder if Murray & Gilruth will help him out with more lead sh*t to the extremities again?

    All three got free passes to use BBC Wildlife Magazine as a platform to attack 80,000+ people who don’t hold the same view as them, democracy – a wonderful establishment? Interestingly can’t find Richardson’s petition with its 2500 supporters, has it been shot?

  3. Shotgun pellets do not leave anything like the trail of lead that a high velocity rifle round deposits. It would be interesting to know Mr Irvings source of remarkably accurately shot Pheasants.I too am grateful I have not eaten huge amounts of shotgun killed game. I would have been sick of it long before it did me any harm .

    1. Trapit – but we know that thousands of people do. And that the young are particularly vulnerable to lead posoning. And that it is easy to switch to non-toxic shot. So why not?

      1. Are you going to send copies of these revealing Xrays to restaurants which serve up these poor creatures, Mark?
        Today in the i – Mark Hix gives 2 recipes for using ‘game’, one using general ‘gamemeat’, the other, pheasant.
        And no mention of the added extra.

    2. ‘I would have been sick of it long before it did me any harm.’

      I down-marked this comment but actually i liked it. First laugh of the day.
      Now the NHS can save millions on early warning tests for cancer etc. because of course if we were sick we would all know about it.

    3. my partner owns a small holding where at this time of the year pheasants are a total bloody nuisance, she often finds herself feeding many many more pheasants than the chickens and ducks. Answer simple trap them in the chicken run (not shot) or use an air rifle (head shot).

  4. Mr Bonner has made many odd comments over the last couple of months, maybe he is suffering from a couple of symptoms from eating to much game meat?

    From the Mayo Clinic

    Lead poisoning symptoms in adults

    Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults may include:

    High blood pressure
    Abdominal pain
    Joint pains
    Muscle pain
    Declines in mental functioning
    Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
    Memory loss
    Mood disorders
    Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm
    Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women


  5. Is there an GOV.UK epetition which asks the government to review their inconsistency about poisons in any / all meat?

    After all, we constantly hear ‘industry’ calling for a level playing field, so in keeping with fair play on the establishment pitch, let’s have consistency all across the market place?

    If not why not?

    1. Mud-lark – give it a few days and I believe you might see one… But don’t tell anyone. Shhhh!

  6. Think this ones about fizzled out,but anyway well done Anand,very funny.Of course you really understood the implication,that I would have to eat an awful lot of shot game,before suffering any ill effects from lead shot . Didn’t you?
    Mr Irving,I know I am worrying unnecessarily,but please make sure you hold the sporting rights to your small holding. I would hate to read about the prosecution on poaching charges,of the chair of NERF,on Raptor Politics.

    1. Trapit – there is no ‘safe’ level of lead. Any amount does you some harm. there is no need for you to eat any in game meat if we switch to non-toxic ammunition as many others have done.

    2. My partner owns the sporting rights of all but a tiny bit, where of course I don’t take pheasants.

  7. I have a very simple solution to the lead problem which will Aldo be of huge benefit to the environment, the predators and the unfortunate game birds themselves. In fact it will help with global warming and flooding too. Go vegan, it works for me.

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