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.