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Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association reaffirms opposition to lead shot ban

The SGA was the only shooting or gamekeeping organisation not to back the five year voluntary transition away from lead.

Steel cartridges in shotgun

Many wildfowlers would not change back to lead from steel after three decades of use, even if they could

The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (SGA) has restated its opposition to a transition away from the use of lead shot. Now in a message encouraging members to engage with the Health and Safety Executive’s lead ammunition consultation, the Association has restated that position. The message said: “Some countryside shooting organisations, led by BASC, have publicly declared they are behind the phasing out of lead over five years and are working with the UK Government.

“The SGA was asked to sign up this position but did not do so. The SGA remains unconvinced by present evidence, particularly on how humane and safe lead shot alternatives, currently in development, are when it comes to wildlife management with welfare in mind.” (Read is your gun safe with steel shot cartridges?)

Continuing opposition

The SGA’s continuing opposition to the transition has attracted a measure of criticism but overall has proved popular. An existing BASC member who asked not to be named said: “If the SGA are the only organisation who will stand up against this nonsense then I will be joining them when my membership comes up for renewal.”

The SGA’s announcement follows the news that a quarter of Europe’s hunters could quit the sport entirely if proposed EU rules banning lead ammunition are introduced. A survey by FACE, the European Hunting Federation, found that 25% of Europe’s hunters will quit the sport and 30% will hunt less frequently if lead ammunition is banned. The survey came in response to the publication of a report on the proposed EU rules restricting the use of lead.

As well as surveying 18,000 shooters across the EU, FACE commissioned a report which looked closely at the evidence being used by European authorities to justify the bans and pointed to what it believes to be multiple serious flaws. These include testing lead levels in meat around wound channels, but not from other parts of the carcass and overestimating the number of shots fired by hunters.

FACE President Torbjörn Larsson commented that: “This report, which was prepared by an independent consultancy, shows that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has drastically underestimated the socio-economic costs of a proposed ban on lead in ammunition for Europe’s hunters. The report’s approach is also very conservative in some areas, considering that some categories of firearms (e.g. rimfire rifles) do not have accurate enough non-lead ammunition.”