To lead or not to lead

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A scientific paper produced by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust claims that a third of waterbirds sampled, the number of birds is, however, not, it would appear, given in the report, showed signs of lead poisoning from consuming shot discharged into the water, despite non-toxic alternatives being available and the law requiring the restriction of lead shot use to prevent contamination of wetlands.

Resent research also suggests that 1 in 10 waterbirds sampled died from lead shot poisoning. Clearly the law doesn't appear to be working, with shooting potentially impacting a large number of birds additional to those targeted by the guns.

While in other European Union countries, such as in Germany, the use of lead shot and bullets for rifles has, basically, been outlawed in the UK the law only requires a reduction in lead shot being used.

Bismuth shot has been available for decades and the responsible hunter has been using this already for a long time. However, lead short cartridges are much cheaper still than bismuth ones and thus most people still use lead.

Lead shot is also no longer supposed to be used by anglers but some still do and this also adds to the lead that can end up being consumed by wildfowl and other birds, not much fun coming across it when you're eating game either.

In many parts of continental Europe lead shot is already outlawed and the results show it with fewer animals suffering ill effects of poisoning.

The same goes in many parts of continental Europe for anglers and only bismuth shot and weights are permitted and thus the danger of lead shot being taken up by wildfowl and other birds is becoming rarer and rarer.

It proves that it works and should be done. Aside from stopping lead poisoning to birds and other animals I am sure that lead shot, though it has been around for ages and ages, also is not good should it be consumed by the eater of game.

© 2013