SNH hands out non-toxic ammunition to goose shooters

This story about a Greylag Goose cull on Orkney caught my eye (largely because someone sent it to me – thank you!). I don’t know enough about the reasons behind the cull to comment on whether it is the least bit sensible but I was interested to see that the goose carcasses were to be sold into the human food chain.

This is interesting for two reasons – the first, as the BBC say, is because you can’t normally sell shot geese and apparently special dispensation has been made for this case.

But also because in England these geese would have to be shot with non-toxic ammunition – that’s what the regulations state for particular species (and sites). However, in Scotland they do things differently and it would be possible to shoot geese, legally, with lead ammunition in, for example, a stubble field.

So, I was wondering whether SNH was making sure that these geese were shot with non-toxic ammunition as they were going into the human food chain.

So I ‘phoned the SNH press office to ask and was answered by a very helpful Canadian woman who told me she’d find out and get back to me. She got back to me in 9 minutes – that impressed me. And the answer impressed me too; SNH are supplying the ammunition and it is all lead-free. That’s the right answer!

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12 Replies to “SNH hands out non-toxic ammunition to goose shooters”

  1. In fact, the goose management groups can apply for training in best practice in the use of nonlead ammunition. I think SNH has taken far too long to get to the point where the geese can legally be sold outside the local area. This has had an impact on the removal of stoats on Orkney. I do wish they could have taken a similarly long time before deciding to conduct the 'trial' on killing of Ravens, which someone senior in SNH seems to have in their sights.

    1. Howard, SNH told the Orcadian "The work will be undertaken by experienced local shooters following established best practice methods, and overseen by Scotland’s Rural Colleges staff". I'm pretty sure this scheme is not "hands off", despite what people might expect. The retailers who are exporting to Scotland are following practices as well. My only issue with this is that it has taken several years of trials with the goose population who decline to migrate and stay during the growing season growing at 5% p.a. It is called "adaptive management control", whatever that means.

  2. Just a few corrections to the post and comments. The meat has been sold in Orkney for a few years now. The idea of selling outwith Orkney is to get more of them shot to reduce the impact on pastures, oats and barley - and (probably) on some bird species. Not being able to sell the meat outside Orkney did not have an effect on the removal of stoats. A number of farmers in Orkney said they wouldn't allow access to their land for stoat trapping unless "something was done" about the number of geese. SNH and RSPB gave in to this - well, blackmail is the only word really. It remains to be seen whetehr this new 'initiative' does reduce the (breeding) goose numbers to the agreed acceptable level. Personally, I have my doubts because I don't think enough folk will want to go and shoot them. We'll see.

  3. I hope they are doing follow up checks, because the shooting community would most certainly chuck the handed out ammo away and use lead just for the sheer spite and contrariness, and to pwn the greenies.

    1. You say this with such apparent certainty that I suppose you are well acquainted with the Orcadian shooting community. If not you are just being trite.

    2. Interesting you should say that Random. My son shoots greylags here in the Western Isles and he refuses point blank (sorry!) to use anything other than lead shot. He hasn't mentioned SNH handouts to me.

  4. Dont worry Tim I'm sure all the shells that dont get used on Orkney can be taken over and used by the non existent British Puffin hunters in Iceland

    1. I can imagine you still trotting out that tiresome nonsense in ten years time, after more incidents of wildlife abuse carried out by the shooting community in the UK are exposed.

      The next hen harrier that ‘disappears’?

      “But puffins!” - you

      You must try harder.

  5. If a few people in Scotland find some of the carcasses for sale and someone gets them x-rayed, then we can sort of find out if the shooters are doing what they should. SNH should do this of course (or the Scottish Food Standards Agency). Any shot the bird had received before it was shot-and-killed, might complicate the situation I suppose.


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