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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