DEFRA’s Lead Ammunition Group (LAG), formed to investigate impacts surrounding the use of lead shot and bullets in England, met for the first time last week on Monday, 26 April. On the same day, a study by scientists at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the RSPB entitled Potential Hazard to Human Health from Exposure to Fragments of Lead Bullets and Shot in the Tissues of Game Animals was published.

The publication of the study — and timing of its release — has been interpreted by shooting industry insiders as a clear indication that the two charities sitting on the LAG intend to argue the case for a wider ban on lead shot within the Lead Ammunition Group on the grounds that lead ingestion may be harmful to human health, not simply on environmental or animal health grounds. The question has also been raised over the motivation behind two wildlife conservation charities publishing a human health study such as this when neither has the provision of science relating to human health within its charitable objects.

The study, led by the WWT’s Debbie Pain, who also sits on the Lead Ammunition Group, was co-authored by the RSPB’s Prof Rhys Green as well as scientists from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in Surrey and the Institute of Biological Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. It investigated whether lead derived from spent gunshot and bullets in the tissues of game animals could pose a threat to human health.

The rest of this article appears in 5th May issue of Shooting Times.

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