Slow progress on lead ammunition ban

Nearly six years after DEFRA received the completed report of the Lead Ammunition Group recommending that lead ammunition be phased out, DEFRA has asked for a review of the impacts of lead ammunition so that perhaps it can be phased out in two years’ time.

The information on impacts of lead ammunition on wildlife, the environment and human health have been known for years. The Lead Ammunition Group was set up by the last Labour government in April 2010 at the suggestion of RSPB and WWT who wrote to Hilary Benn, the Welsh administration, Natural England, the Forestry Commission, the Foods Standard Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and others in October 2009 – you can see the letter from Debbie Pain and myself here.

DEFRA are a scurrilous bunch and cannot be trusted. Their press release tries to portray their own lack of action as imposed by the EU when they say;

Rebecca Pow

Now we have left the EU we are able to make our own laws. UK REACH allows decisions to be made on the regulation of chemicals based on the best available scientific evidence, ensuring chemicals remain safely used and managed.

Rebecca Pow, minister, said ‘Addressing the impacts of lead ammunition will mark a significant step forward in helping to protect wildlife, people, and the environment. This is a welcome development for our new chemicals framework, and will help ensure a sustainable relationship between shooting and conservation.

… but the truth is that DEFRA has been negligently slow in taking action on a known problem, is going to take two years to read a report that it has had for nearly six years already and cannot be trusted to do what it promises on time or in practice anyway. And the EU is moving in the same direction at about the same speed and so Brexit is irrelevant to this issue – it may actually be the likely future impossibility of exporting lead-contaminated game meat to the EU that has forced the shooting industry to allow government to act in any case.

This should all have happened at least six years ago and not, perhaps, in 2023.

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15 Replies to “Slow progress on lead ammunition ban”

  1. Don’t want to do anything hasty now! Let’s see how far down the road we can kick this can!

    1. Unfortunately the replacements aren’t going to be any better. We in the shooting community know that lead isn’t great, however the alternatives aren’t any better. Steel shot, when put in stomach acid, is much worse than lead. It dissolves much faster and in doing so becomes far more toxic. Same is true for copper, puter etc.

    1. Gary – this isn’t the start – this is where they have got to after at least 30 years… Don’t be fooled.

    1. Replacement technology has always proved highly profitable even when replacing stuff that works perfectly well. Think vinyl, compact cassette, CD, streaming digital – all holding the same type of information but requiring new devices to render it audible. Nipper the Dog must have been well hacked-off.

  2. I have just carried out my own survey.

    Lead is toxic, lead is poisonous. Lead should be nowhere near meat for human consumption. There are alternatives available.

    Survey complete

    1. How many cases of Lead poisoning have you found through shot game. I’d liked to know as through my own research I haven’t found any, would like to know where I’ve gone wrong. Cheers in advance.

  3. The members of most shooting organisations are still apparently drawing breath in response to the alleged phasing out of lead over the next5 years statements. Four years now and most are still trying to think about it or have their heads still in the sand or up their own fundament. Lead ammo should have gone eons ago and perhaps if that had happened the shooters might be less disagreeable given one of the symptoms of lead poisoning.

  4. To say this is disengenuous must be the understatement of the century ! And to try and blame the long, long delay in doing the obvious on the EU is just laughable. With Rebeccas shooting friends so vociferous against a ban, what has led to this ? the suggestion that there has to be some ulterior motive such as sales to the EU rings truer than any suggestion of doing this because it is the right thing to do – that sort of approach seems quite alien to this Government.

  5. There have been big efforts to open up new markets , for British shot game, in Asia.
    I would imagine, that the behaviour of Lead pellets in a hot Wok has been discussed.

    1. I would imagine it would not raise the content of PTEs already in the other ingredients by a worrisome amount.

  6. Lead has been used as projectiles almost since firearms were invented. I do not hear of any person dying of eating meat shot with lead. When I eat shot meat I cut the lead out of the meat, simply because that particular part of the carcass has turned to a horrible mulch. This makes it obvious where the lead particles are. I have never seen these tens of thousands of birds suffering lead poisoning wildlife groups go on about. The lead ban will not make any difference, as will reducing plastic waste to wildlife declines. The cause of declining wildlife is an increase of human population. Think about how much bodily waste we all produce in a year. This phasing out lead is another way of preventing us from shooting. These so called experts bring new laws in to protect us. Do you feel the world is a safer place than it was 40 to 50 years ago? I do not!!

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