WWT stirs itself on lead

This article by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust on lead ammunition is well worth a read.

James Robinson, Director of Conservation, is quoted as saying:

Health, surely, is at the forefront of all our minds right now, yet countries blocking this proposal are passing up a golden opportunity to protect the health of their citizens, their wildlife, and their environment.

When I tell people about the poisonous effects of lead ammunition, their first response is always, ‘but isn’t it banned already?’ and I have to tell them, ‘no’.

Lead is one of the WHO’s ten most toxic human poisons, yet still over 20,000 tonnes is scattered by shotguns across the European countryside every single year. Shooting concentrates it in the very places where wild birds breed and feed and it poisons four million birds each year, and kills a quarter of those.

And it doesn’t just poison birds, it contaminates the soil and enters the human food chain, where it affects unborn babies of pregnant mothers and reduces children’s IQ.

This is not an issue on which any country should sit on the fence, let alone Germany with its influence and green credentials.


… and …

The health of four million birds and countless people is on a knife-edge but it’s not too late. We and our conservation partners across Europe will not give up until toxic lead is consigned to history.

We’re calling upon agriculture and environment ministers to back this proposal. And if you’re an EU citizen please contact your ministers to urge them to do the right thing for health.


Well, I’m not an EU citizen anymore…

I welcome these strong words from WWT, and it is an organisation, as itself says, which has a long history of research on this subject but its advocacy has been low-key and its campaigning has been almost non-existent. Its cafes should have had posters about lead in food and its hundreds of thousands of visitors should have been informed over the years of what they could do get lead banned. And the RSPB could and should have done more too.

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4 Replies to “WWT stirs itself on lead”

  1. Makes far more sense than the double speak of a certain shooting organisation or of course their keeper pals north of the border who are opposed to any limitation in the use of lead ammunition. Perhaps their IQs and brain function are already limited by lead ingestion. Its the only logical explanation.
    Yes this should have received far more publicity over the years. It would certainly have made the pro lead lobby look even bigger fools. So even they would have realised their own stupidity.

  2. It is incredible that lead is still deliberately allowed to enter the environment and kill birds and no doubt other wildlife. I can remember as a student in 1963 I did six months as an assistant in a workshop where there was a lead lining section for lining vessels that were to contain acid. In that section there were notices everywhere about the dangers of lead poisoning and how essential it was to wash your hands when ever possible. That was 57 years ago and still we have not banned lead shot it really defies comprehension. One is tempted to regard those opposing such a ban as criminals. It is rather similar to smoking when certain people maintained to the last that smoking was not harmful.

  3. The lead–crime hypothesis is the proposed link between elevated blood lead levels in children and increased rates of crime, delinquency, and recidivism later in life. Falling levels of crime in the USA has been linked to the introduction of unleaded petrol. Perhaps the consumption of lead-contaminated game from an early age explains the propensity of game keepers to adopt a routine of casual killing.


  4. Mark
    Perhaps WWT are seeking to act as 'honest broker' scientists seeking to keep as many people in the room during the transition away from lead to steel shot.

    You've seen my piece no doubt on it https://robyorke.co.uk/2020/01/we-need-to-talk-about-lead-shot/

    best wishes, Rob


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