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Thread: Lead Poisoning

  1. #1

    Lead Poisoning

    Lead poisoning is in the news on BBC this morning, banging the wetland birds in decline because of lead poisoning drum again! Currently waiting for the full article to be shown and its more than likely bias angle.

    I'm telling Captain - from the Wee'est of men.

  2. #2
    I hope that our shooting organisations will deal with this. I cannot see how you can tell whether the poisoning is caused by historic pre-ban lead shot or from lead pollution from old plumbing systems, roofs etc. or something more recent. There must be an awful lot of lead pollution still out there from the industrial revolution. Still when have inconvenient facts ever stopped the antis? atb Tim

  3. #3
    I will agree that many ducks and geese have and continue to die to lead shot - driven at 1400 fps out of a shotgun. But the biggest threat to wading and seabirds is not lead shot, but seagulls. Notably the herring gulls. On the Forth Estury we are now inundated with them. They are hammering the terns, in granton harbour I watched them eat 20 eider chicks. Out on the islands as all the young puffins come out of their nests they two are getting gobbled up - I sailed out to inchkeith island and watched them being eaten. And I can but imagine what is happening to all the young waders and wildfowl on the wetlands - it will be a horror story. On the roof of just one large warehouse in Granton there were 200 plus nesting pairs of seagulls this summer - it used to be a tern colony. Need I go on.

  4. #4
    I've had a look at the paper this is based on. It's doesn't actually look too bad - some fairly minor issues with statistics, but otherwise pretty straightforward, and the results appear robust.

    The important point for the shooting community is to pick their battles: there is clearly good evidence that lead shot is a problem in wetlands, and we should be seen to be doing as much as possible to mitigate this, or risk appearing both ignorant and reactionary. There is no good evidence that rifle shot is a problem - and that is the battle which should be fought, and fought with level headed reference to data, rather than agressive over-reaction to anything seen as anti (which only discredits us).

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Er, hang on a minute. From the BBC article linked above:

    "Scientists found 10% of dead waterbirds collected from 1971 to 2010 died from lead poisoning and a third of a sample of living birds were also affected"

    The ban on lead shot (for anglers as well, I think?) has only been in force for around a decade, I thought, so if the sample of birds spans roughly 4 decades then that means 75% of them predate the lead ban. No surprise then that some show signs of lead poisoning, surely.

  7. #7
    Hi All, % is a very convenient way of expressing a result to influence the majority of the population. I would be interested in knowing how many exactly 10% was.
    Prior to the lead ban, people were asking "Where are the bodies". We were never told.

  8. #8
    Lead was discussed at a conferance I attended a couple of years ago and the speaker asked the hall (wich had about 400 wildfowlers in it ) if anyone had ever found a duck that they though had been suffering from lead poisoning (after explaining the symtoms ) no hands showed and a lot of the fowlers had been on the marsh for over 40yrs.
    How come scientist can find them and nobody else.
    The RSPCA did a check on game dealers and found a large amount ( not sure the % ) had lead shot in them, at least 90% would havecome from driven shoots but the wildfowlers get the blame.
    I am not saying there is not a problem but I think they the scientist and the anti's are just using it as a back door way to ban shooting.

  9. #9
    I watched this crap on breakfast tv this morning, the most shocking statement made more than once during the interview was that 7 out of 10 mallard purchased from gamedealers etc were said to have been shot with lead. Having been a wildfowler from the age of 13 I've done a fair share of mooching about on ponds marshes and estuaries but I've never come across a bird suffering or showing any of the signs of suffering from lead poisoning as described this morning. Makes one wonder where these figures percentages come from.Maybe its time our shooting organisations went on the offensive instead of waiting to defend these mostly unfounded allegations.

  10. #10
    When you look at a piece like this its hard to work out who came up with the idea of a ban on lead over wetlands when you can still use lead in the same situation on non waterfowl. So you have the fact the law is an ass then the flouting of the law which will mostly be driven reared mallard on inland ponds. The only ducks I've seen with any signs of lead poisoning it had been doing 1400fps at some point and they had been pricked.
    BASC gave them the ammo in the shape of a survey out to a random number of members asking whether they used lead, this should have been targeted at wildfowlers as the compliance is total from what I've seen. Ultimately though the fight will be lost and I think they probably know that and are trying to retain membership by putting up a token fight. The lead action group etc is all smoke and mirrors and we shall see what it comes up with but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the findings did sink lead as the only people doing research are the ones trying to ban it.

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