Leading wildlife charities have called on the Lead Ammunition Group (LAG) to make its final report to Government before March next year so that its conclusions can inform the Law Commission?s review of wildlife legislation.
The demand from the RSPCA, RSPB, Humane Society International/UK and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is part of a concerted campaign led by the WWT over recent weeks to introduce a complete ban on lead shot across the UK.
WWT chief executive Martin Spray said: ?I hope that people who shoot ? who are often great carers of the countryside themselves ? will take account of the new evidence and switch to the non-toxic alternatives to lead shot.?
RSPCA wildlife veterinary officer Mhairi Fleming said: ?There is awareness in the hunting communities of the problem of lead poisoning, but there is a core who may not be aware of the level of sickness and distress caused to individual birds.?
Both the RSPB and WWT are members of the LAG, which was set up to advise the Government on the impact of lead ammunition on wildlife and human health.
The chairman of the LAG, BASC?s John Swift, rejected the groups? demands for an early report to Government, pointing out that the Law Commission consultation was not concerned with altering the levels of protection offered to wildlife.
He said: ?The Lead Ammunition Group is working to assess all the scientific evidence and needs to be given time to do that job thoroughly.?
?Attempts to bump the LAG?s timetable forward through the media will not help us establish a scientific base for future policy.?