Don’t ignore the science on lead

800px-7.5_Cartridges‘Don’t ignore the science on lead’ is the title of a BASC statement that ignores the science on lead.

It is quite difficult to make it up.

BASC’s Dr Matt Ellis, said: ‘BASC’s policy has always been no sound evidence, no change. There is no scientific evidence of population-level impacts outside of wetlands and we believe the current legislation effectively and proportionately targets risk.

There is no need to change the law. Science tells us that we must comply with legislation, follow official advice on consumption and process game meat effectively.’.

So at least, now, BASC accept that there is a population-level impact of lead in wetlands – that seems to be what others have been saying for quite a while – it’s good of BASC to catch up.

Is Dr Ellis really a scientist, I wonder? If so, why did he allow himself to be quoted as spouting this sentence ‘Science tells us that we must comply with legislation, follow official advice on consumption and process game meat effectively.’?  I’m really at a loss to know what bit of hypothesis testing tells us to comply with legislation. Which experiment demonstrated that we should follow official advice? And which dataset leads us to hurry to process game meat effectively? It’s utter tosh.

BASC’s policy, as they say, has recently been ‘no sound evidence…’.


M&S – do you really want your brand diminished by association with such arguments? When are you going to announce that you will not sell red grouse meat in your stores this year?


PS did you notice that BASC don’t link to John Swift’s blog here – not keen for others to read the truth?

Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive

Get email notifications of new blog posts

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

8 Replies to “Don’t ignore the science on lead”

  1. Wow ! Surely lead is one of the best known poisons, useful, yes, back into almost the mists of time, but well known as a poison. Shooting had a choice: 19th C or 21st C. They chos the past, and voted for becomng history.

  2. Yes, Matthew Ellis is a scientist. According to BSAC's website he has a PhD in pheasant ecology.

  3. That sentence is rather extraordinary isn't it?!
    Here it is again, it could become a classic! "Science tells us that we must comply with legislation, follow official advice on consumption and process game meat effectively"
    To add to the critique:
    We must comply with legislation - true, but research (which included BASC) shows that compliance is low
    We should follow official advice on consumption - true (to a point), although I've never seen any game meat for sale that points that out to the consumer. Indeed it is so often marketed as a safe and healthy alternative without any attempt to highlight the risk to pregnant women and young children. (And anyway the advice surely needs updating taking on board the LAG report which has been so badly ignored).
    Process game meat effectively - there are many images on the various blogs here that shows how lead fragments throughout the meat and I have no idea how these can be effectively removed through processing.

    Other than that the sentence appears accurate.

  4. Its all so disappointing.

    Shooters are very badly served by this lot and GCWT and CA.

    What I would find galling if I was still shooting is that I'd want to be sure I was on the 'I care about nature' side of shooting, and would voluntarily use non-lead shot, but the price is being kept high because of lack of demand, caused by the ostriches representing me.

    I'd be scrapping my subscriptions.

  5. The last two years have been particularly gruelling. We have endured the apparently endless cycle of poisonings, trappings and shootings of our “protected” wildlife which is met with at best a tepid investigation, but more commonly an apparent indifference. Sky, Hope and Highlander were but a few of the magnitude of our wildlife exterminated though practices of ecological cleansing conducted to support a morally unjustifiable and environmentally destructive industry. Meanwhile, tonnes of harmful lead are blasted across our countryside to be ingested by our wildlife, leading to scores of painful and painfully preventable deaths. How has our government responded to this? And in particular to the perfectly sensible recommendations of the LAG? With a denial of the evidence before their eyes that is as banal as it is extraordinary. Faced with the last two years it is tempting to fall into despair, how can such destruction of our wild places be allowed to take place on such a scale? And be met with such unremitting apathy?

    However, your post about industry faces such as BASC and “Dr Ellis” shows the other side of the coin. The RSPB has now found the conviction to start to abandon compromise with an industry which has repeatedly demonstrated its opposition to any sensible reform. Now over 64,000 people are calling for the defence of our collective ecological heritage over private interest, a number growing every day! More and more people are getting informed and organised, and we even have Bill Oddie and Chris Packham on our side!

    No doubt Ellis et al feel the battles won. They have enjoyed a treble serving of impotent environment ministers to eat their industry propaganda, they have faced a mild mannered RSPB and now they have seen the LAG report ignored. But really any high water mark was reached long ago, as their statements show. The ‘sound evidence’ against lead is now overwhelming, their denial will only continue to weaken the last vestiges of their credibility over time. The tide has now turned, and it has turned in our favour.

    We may not make 100,000 signatures this time, nor will we see lead phased out in a year. However, the ‘sound evidence’ continues to mount in our favour as our campaigns gain momentum across the board. Meanwhile, the opposition increasingly languish with arguments that appear fantastic in their abstraction of evidence and reality. Now appears a safer time than any to conclude that the emancipation of our countryside has become a certainly…and our revenge for all we have had to endure will be the flight of the hen harrier over his moorland.

  6. This is a quote from Bee Wilson in today's Guardian: "As a society we retain faith in the power of facts to change behaviour, despite ample evidence that what motivates us above all else is emotion. Disgust will often get the job done quicker than information."
    It seems that politicians are particularly adept at ignoring facts so it is up to pressure groups to raise the emotional temperature to a point where it can't be ignored. In this case, maybe share more images of ducks dying of lead poisoning.

  7. "Don’t ignore the science on lead, BASC says".

    BASC leadership have knowingly been setting themselves up for a fall on this "no sound evidence, no change" rhetoric since the Boise 2008 conference.

    Sad to see such a previously scientifically credible organisation lose most of their scientific credibility.

    Sadder even to see the same happen to GWCT (full acronym included and intended without any recently suggested additional parentheses), a previously truly scientifically credible organisation who until recent years deserved the same respect as the BTO now do.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.