A study by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) claims to prove that spent lead gunshot is continuing to kill British birds despite the introduction of restrictions to reduce the threat.

According to the research, lead poisoning accounted for at least one in 10 dead waterbirds ? from a sample of 2,365 birds ? recovered across Britain between 1971 and 2010.

Since restrictions on lead shot use were imposed in 1999, the researchers said they could find ?no significant change? in the proportion of birds dying from lead poisoning.

Chief executive Martin Spray said: ?The most effective solution would appear to be to extend the restrictions on the use of lead shot to cover all shooting.

?Non-toxic alternatives are available and have been used successfully for years in countries such as Denmark. The shooting community has always said that, when the evidence is forthcoming, they will support practical proposals to address the threat to wildlife. We look forward to working with them.?

The study included the results of blood samples taken from 285 live waterbirds caught in Britain within the past two years. It found that more than one in three birds had elevated levels of lead.

In April, Shooting Times revealed that the WWT was planning to campaign for a total ban on all lead shot in England by 2015, while creating a health scare by enlisting celebrity support to focus public concern on consumption of shot game.

The rest of this article appears in the 10th October issue of Shooting Times.

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  • Rod Taylor

    I have been shooting and eating all types of game for the last 52 years and am still going strong without any adverse health effects.In all my shooting career,I have not come across any wildfowl staggering about or swimming erratically, which may indicate disease.Nor have I found any dead or dying carcases.Indeed all the ducks and geese I see either on shoots or public areas look remakably healthy!

    It is quite obvious,therfore, that the intentions of the WWT and RSPB and others of similar ilk, is not to protect either us, or a miniscule number of wildfowl but the very existence of shooting itself!

    This could be referred to as a hidden agenda but it is not even that, more a thinly veiled one.The unfolding scenario is quite easy to envisage.
    The shooting community claims,quite rightly,that non-toxic shot is far less effective than lead in producing clean kills and results in more wounding.

    This results in further shock,horror from all the above organisations who now lobby for a complete ban on all live quarry shooting!If you can’t kill it cleanly then you had better pack up altogether.

    The shooting community and our organisations must take a totally uncompromising stand on this issue and resist any form of further ban on lead shot,period.There can be no backing down, otherwise we will lose the way of life we and our children, all hold sacrosanct.

  • Saskatchewan Chris

    Out here in the howling wilderness of Saskatchewan the rule is “no lead for waterfowl shooting”. For upland birds it is OK. It seems to work out for us and the Americans with whom we share the migratory bird responsibility.

  • john atkins

    These non-toxic alternatives are diabolically expensive so they are not alternatives. They are different cartridges they want you to buy so you have to pay more. If they come out with a comparable alternative to lead in performance and cost there will be no debate, we will all use them for all types of shooting. S/Steel is useless, it must cause more injured birds, that die later, than the digested lead casualities.

  • BRB

    Read the BASC briefing here… http://www.basc.org.uk/en/media/key_issues.cfm/cid/7D52446F-95C8-4BA3-BB8A2D7FD9AD2B2D …. it appears the WWT are ignoring the role of the Lead Ammunition Group who have yet to complete their investigation into the matter. I am extremely sceptical of any report compiled by (not for) any organisation which purports to support the aims of said organisation. The WWT are playing politics making their findings public before submission to the LAG resulting in the recent news report on BBC Breakfast TV ….