BASC has today written to the BBC in response to an article in the spring issue of their ‘Wildlife’ magazine in which Chris Packham commented on the continued use of lead shot.

In his letter, BASC chief executive Richard Ali questions the unbalanced and emotive content of Mr Packham’s one-page opinion piece.

The full text of the letter is:


Chris Packham is wrong to blithely relay a conversation with his ‘unsung hero’ Mark Avery (Spring issue of ‘Wildlife’ magazine) without at least giving necessary balance to the pair’s surreptitious campaigning.

The pair rely on unbalanced arguments to provide the thrust of this article, and the writer fails professionally by not referencing the original source of the data.

Mr Packham, of course, knows that had he done so, his emotive claims would not bear scrutiny; rather than being told by Mr Packham ‘everyone knows lead is poisonous’, your readers would be credited the good grace of being allowed to think for themselves.

The research Mr Packham alludes to came from the shadowy Oxford Lead Symposium in 2015. This group has yet to publicly reveal the source of its funding and hides its true identity behind an American company which boasts of its ability to mask such information.

Their assertion that lead ammunition harms wildlife has been exaggerated and distorted; suggestions that up to 100,000 waterfowl could be affected each year represents little more than guesswork. They themselves admit ‘more precise estimates cannot readily be made’. There is no evidence of an impact at population scale.

In lieu of the balance that Mr Packham is so reticent to provide, the UK’s largest shooting organisation has nothing to hide when standing up for hundreds of thousands of outdoor-loving, conservation-conscious citizens who enjoy a healthy, productive sport which is worth £2 billion a year to the UK economy and supports the equivalent of  74,000 full-time jobs (The Value of Shooting Report:

Kind regards,

Richard Ali,

Chief Executive,

British Association for Shooting and Conservation

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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