Back to another Tim Bonner quote from his blog in the Huffington Post.
‘Bonner, presumably on the basis of shooting some ducks, regards the estimates of dying waterfowl from lead poisoning in the UK each year as ‘nothing more than speculation‘. Remember that quote too. But, again, I’ll remind you of it. But while waiting for that just imagine how the shooting industry can be happy to poison between 10,000 and 100,000 waterfowl a year in the UK. What sort of collateral damage is that? Tens of thousands of poisoned birds?‘
The Oxford Lead Symposium publication today, and the event itself had Bonner deigned to attend, contains a paper by Dr Debbie Pain (WWT), Dr Ruth Cromie (WWT) and Prof Rhys Green (RSPB) on estimates of numbers of waterfowl dying in the UK each year from lead poisoning. They estimate that about 73,000 waterfowl die of lead poisoning through ingested lead in the UK each winter (and so summer losses are additional).
The way they come up with the estimates is a bit complex; quite the opposite of ‘nothing more than speculation’ as Bonner put it. Observed lead ingestion levels by wildfowl are taken and used with known mortality rates for Mallards, measured population levels of waterfowl and various correction rates (one of which I think, if unused, would have reduced the final figure and the other, I think, would have increased it).
To put this in context, about a million ducks are shot in the UK each year. For every 14 shot for sport, another is poisoned unnecessarily.
So, I’d ask again, what sort of sport is it that poisons tens of thousands of its quarry species each winter just because it is too mean to switch, as have other countries completely, to using non-toxic ammunition?
So, Rory Stewart and Defra – get on with it! For heaven’s sake what’s the delay about? This is a simple health issue, wildlife and human health, with a very simple solution.
Please sign the Rob Sheldon’s e-petition to ban lead ammunition.