Ireland – -(Ammoland.com)- On Wednesday the ‘Oxford Lead Symposium’ published a report of its proceedings from last year.
We were well aware of the contents because the research has all been dealt with repeatedly during the Lead Ammunition Group process.
The BBC, however, was persuaded that there was something worthy of reporting and lead with the claim that “about a 100,000 wetland birds are killed every year” by lead shot.
This headline comes from an estimate of 50,000 – 100,000 wildfowl dying each year as a result of lead poisoning included in a paper produced by RSPB & Wildfowl and Wetland Trust scientists.
This in turn relies mainly on research carried out between 1960 and 1983, all of which occurred before the current restrictions on using lead shot were introduced in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The figures therefore provide no real evidence of the current situation and merely illustrate exactly the concerns that the current restrictions on lead shot were brought in to address.
In addition nearly all the wildfowl species referenced in this report are migratory and there is no way of knowing in which country any lead shot that was present in their digestive systems was picked up. Meanwhile, Defra has published bird population statistics which show the majority of wintering wildfowl on the rise in the UK, much to the credit of the fabulous work being done by conservationists, including hundreds of wildfowling clubs and private landowners around the coast.
The Alliance is clear that there does need to be total compliance with lead ammunition restrictions in the UK, and from all signatory parties to the AEWA Agreement which committed other countries to prohibit the use of lead ammunition over wetlands.
The only thing that is clear from the Oxford Lead Symposium, however, is that there remains no case for a total ban based on evidence gathered before the current restrictions were put in place.
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