Shooting preparing for a climbdown on lead ammunition?

This article by Rob Yorke, allegedly a personal view, suggests that shooting may be preparing to face the inevitable, and to admit that lead ammunition should go. I hope so.

If this were just Rob Yorke wittering on then it wouldn’t hold much weight but the quotes from Liam Bell, Tim Bonner and the news that the Moorland Association has seen the writing on the wall is more significant. Nothing from GWCT but they have recently changed their website to give a more honest and straightforward account of the science.

When we see a proposed ban on lead ammunition in the Conservative election manifesto then we’ll know that something really is happening, but the signs are good, and I welcome this significant change in tone.

It is, of course, a change that ought to have happened years ago and if it is real then we shouldn’t go overboard with praise and gratitude for the foot dragging of the shooting industry and the lack of leadership by the shooting press (who have been quite awful at times) and the shooting organisations. But it is a good thing.

And there are plenty of other areas where shooting needs to make similar positive moves – and quickly. These include clamping down on wildlife crime, tackling the numbers of released non-native gamebirds, cessation of burning on deep peat soils and the honesty of their public pronouncements.

There is a long way to go and it would be good if the shooting industry started on those journeys quickly. If they did, then they would shed much, but I doubt all, of the criticism they currently attract from many sectors of society. There will be some who will always oppose any form of recreational killing of wildlife but others will be much more inclined to give such shooting the benefit of the doubt if shooting cleans up its act.

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5 Replies to “Shooting preparing for a climbdown on lead ammunition?”

  1. As is often the case, those who don’t shoot animals should be to the fore on this, for which there is as yet little evidence.

    The most risible comment, as so often, is from the Moorland Association: “Despite grouse living in often naturally lead-rich environments (historical lead ore mining in the hills)”. I’m sure Amanda Anderson is not so stupid as to believe her own propaganda – but I wonder that she seems stupid enough to think that others will. There’s no doubt that lead from mines can sometimes be a problem downstream ( Though mostly it is other metals such as cadmium that are the major concerns. But the suggestion that the moors are ‘naturally lead-rich’ is so obviously bonkers that I wonder why she bothers. Maybe to disguise that they are in danger of becoming unnaturally lead-rich.

    1. If Amanda Anderson told me the sky was blue, I’d not believe her until I’d looked to confirm it. There are quite a few places in the Yorkshire and Durham dales where lead mining took place and grouse are shot but naturally lead rich——– NO, a few spots of man made lead rich yes.
      I’m never sure if she has eaten too much lead rich game or expects her audience to have done so and thus believe the Tosh she spouts.
      The sooner shooting, all shooting switches to non-toxic shot the better for the environment and game and rabbit eaters, bring it on.

  2. Part of the shooting community’s reluctance, to embrace a move from lead shot (except in the case of Wildfowl /wetlands ), has been
    a lack of obvious signs of any ill effects, on ground shot over for many years.
    In the 25 years I was on my Pheasant beat, I must have seen in excess
    of 40 million lead pellets discharged in to the environment.
    Every year Pheasant poults were released onto the ground, I never
    suspected any ill effects from previous years deposits of shot.
    The woods were carpeted in Bluebells, Yellow Archangel, saxifrage etc, the brook had trout fry and Dipper’s, and the lambs always thrived.
    On top of that, for a number of years, the area held what, as far as I
    can ascertain, was the closest nesting group of Goshawk recorded in
    the UK.
    Of course, science tells us ,quite rightly, that lead is an unnecessary poison, and should rightly be phased out.
    Meanwhile, the Pheasants are gone, the Goshawks have halved, and
    the ground is no longer shot over.

  3. Mark, glad you liked it and for the record, I proposed the article to the editor of the Shooting Gazette and then petitioned voices within the shooting community for their contribution. There is positive movement and the ammo industry will have to catch up fast as demand picks up for non-lead and plastic wads. It will take time!

    Your last para is important and is the basis of my article nudging the shooting community to a better place.

    “There will be some who will always oppose any form of recreational killing of wildlife but others will be much more inclined to give such shooting the benefit of the doubt….”

    Mark, if you could just help manage the ‘some’ anti-all-shooting to enable space for the shooting community/industry to make that move to prove to ‘others’ they can do it!

    All best

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