British Game and Lead Alliance

The British Game Alliance has posted a statement on their website about Waitrose’s very sensible position on lead ammunition – here it is.

It’s all a bit feeble. They can’t criticise Waitrose and they can’t criticise the Food Standards Authority so they say – not very much at all.

But what they should be saying is that because there are non-toxic alternatives to lead ammunition they they will be following Waitrose’s example and requiring all suppliers to provide lead-free game meat.

I wonder why they don’t?

In case there is any doubt about it, the BGA is part of the shooting industry, not a wholly independent bunch of people who fancy making game meat safer and better. If one looks at their key personnel then one finds a BASC board member (Peter Watson), a trustee of GWCT (Simon Chantler) and a member of the board of the Countryside Alliance (Charles McVeigh III) amongst their number. So we shouldn’t expect much from the BGA. We shouldn’t expect much imagination or much public spiritedness.

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7 Replies to “British Game and Lead Alliance”

  1. I wonder how Waitrose are being assured that the game they are receiving is lead free.... ?? Trusting the industry....with its record??

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  2. ‘Much of lead shot game goes through scanners’??
    Really? Does it? So, our local butcher who gets his pheasants from his family who shoot, puts the pheasants through a scanner does he?
    That will be after he’s taken the ear tags out presumably.

    .... ‘because these animals enjoy lives in the wild’
    Well they’d enjoy life a lot more if they were not being shot at.
    For fun.
    For ‘sport’.

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  3. Wonderful head in the sand stuff! There will, however, be some who will see the opportunity offered with a market for their shot birds being lead free and that it will avoid them having to throw them away. Organic farming took a good while to grow, change comes slowly.
    I quizzed a dear friend, a wildfowler, on lead free shot. His view and experience was that it was no problem, just part of the skill and wisdom of a good wildfowler - knowing when it was a fair shot, a straight kill, and that he wasn’t going to spend time chasing a winged or injured bird which he had caused to suffer. That seems to me a long way away from many of the cowboys who are drawn into pheasant shoots.

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    1. I spent a morning searching through a pheasant shot wood last weekend. Loads of skulls and and skeletons.... birds that were not retrieved? Or birds that were injured and died in quiet suffering?

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  4. The BGA's point about the use of scanners refers to processed game meat. I think that this means minced and cut-up meat destined for e.g. sausages. Of course, a scanner cannot remove fragments of lead ammunition. It can only detect them. It would be helpful if the BGA could tell us what proportion and what concentration of the ammunition-derived lead remains behind in processed meat products and how the rejected contaminated meat and lead is disposed of safely. However, much of the consumption of game meat promoted by the BGA is not of processed game meat anyway, but of near-intact gamebird carcasses (such as skin-on roast birds) and crowns. Take a look at their list of recipes. For those dishes, it would usually be the person eating the meal who would need to scan it for lead after beginning to eat. Given that gamebird meals usually contain small fragments broken off from lead shot that hit the bird, I doubt that many of them are detected and rejected in this way. In any case, the BGA website does not give a recommendation or advice about the advisability of trying to do that.

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