The study, by Debbie Pain of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the RSPB?s Rhys Green, concluded that the weekly consumption of game that had been shot with lead ammunition may be associated with a one-point reduction in children?s IQ.

It also found those who eat up to six gamebird meals per week may have an increased risk of high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and spontaneous abortion.

The Countryside Alliance points out that both the report?s authors sit on DEFRA?s Lead Ammunition Group, and that the new study ?clearly removes any objective contribution either of these individuals can bring to the group?.

A spokesman also questioned the WWT?s charitable status: ?Using its funds for any human health issues is not only beyond the remit as a wildlife charity, but also does not represent the interest of its financial supporters.?