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BASC strongly refutes renewed claims of lead ammunition risks

A swift response by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) to those calling for lead shot to be phased out


It is illegal to use lead ammunition to shoot wildfowl

Researchers attending the Oxford Symposium on Lead ammunition have published a report stating that evidence now supports a ban.  Several conclusions were drawn from the report, which used findings from studies carried out by conservation groups including the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the RSPB.

  • The WWT says that regulations designed largely to prevent lead shot being used over wetland habitats are not working
  • WWT tests on over 100 ducks purchased as “locally shot” found that more than 75% were killed with lead shot
  • Lord Krebs, emeritus professor at the University of Oxford, said there there was: “an overwhelming body of evidence” that lead used in hunting was “a risk both to humans and to wildlife” and recommended that lead shot should be phased out.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation has been quick to respond to these claims, stating:

“The risks to wildlife and human health from lead ammunition alleged by speakers at the Oxford Lead Symposium, neither of whom have medical expertise, have been exaggerated and distorted by quoting selectively from research, according to the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

“Estimates from the Oxford Lead Symposium that between 50,000 and 100,000 waterfowl could be affected are so wide as to represent little more than guesswork and the report itself says that “more precise estimates cannot readily be made.”  They are based on extrapolation and are not supported by hard evidence. Despite the worst estimates of bird mortality, there is no evidence of an impact at a population scale.

“The effects on human health are similarly distorted and the research appears to take no account of recent Swedish data that shows that properly processing game meat eliminates any contamination. The Food Standards Authority has already issued guidance on game meat consumption – similar to that for tuna and swordfish – to significantly reduce any risk. ”

BASC chairman Alan Jarrett said: “The presence of a risk alone is no justification for a ban. Risks can be managed and reduced by taking the appropriate actions. BASC has seen nothing to justify extending existing regulations covering lead ammunition.

“Policymakers should be guided by reliable science, robust evidence and the principles of better regulation; none of these are present in the reports from the Oxford Lead Symposium.

“BASC will continue to work with its sister organisations on this important issue and will continue to insist on sound evidence and proper process.  We will not let our guard drop.”

Lead ammunition compliance

It is illegal to use lead ammunition to shoot wildfowl and anyone who does so, risks a fine of £1,000 and a criminal conviction. Read our recent article on complying with the law on lead here.