BASC has praised FACE – the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation – for its work to secure the rejection of plans to enforce a worldwide ban on lead ammunition.
FACE conservation manager Dr David Scallan worked to ensure the wording of a motion to ban lead ammunition was significantly weakened by the time it was put to the vote at the world congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Hawaii at the weekend.
FACE drew heavily on BASC briefing documents in presenting evidence-based arguments to IUCN members during the week-long congress.
After intense debate, IUCN members voted in favour of a reworded motion that encourages governments “to phase out, where feasible, lead shot used for hunting over wetlands and lead ammunition used for hunting in areas where scavengers are at particular risk from the use of lead ammunition, based on scientific evidence, and the replacement of it with suitable alternatives”.
The IUCN motion holds no weight in law, but could be considered a policy-driver for its 1,300 member organisations, which includes the UK’s Department for Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) and other government agencies across the world. It would also guide the IUCN’s international network of 16,000 experts.
BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “FACE should be applauded for working tirelessly in the months leading up to this congress to ensure the taming of the original motion, which was based on ideology and emotion rather than science and evidence. It is clear that their intensive lobbying of delegates during the week of congress paid off.
“Pressure groups had banded together to table a motion that was impossible to subsequently remove from the agenda. Thankfully, the work done by FACE, BASC and others, limited the potential damage.
“Our members should now be reassured that there is no change to the position in the UK. Indeed, it was only recently that the former environment secretary Liz Truss confirmed that the Lead Ammunition Group’s report did not show that the impacts of lead ammunition were significant enough to justify changing current policy.
“We are confident the UK government will stand firmly behind that decision, rather than bow to any pressure which may fall out of a IUCN vote which holds no statutory authority.
“We will continue to fight in support of the use of lead ammunition in the UK. In the build up to the IUCN vote, BASC wrote to 200 shooting organisations worldwide to alert them to the motion and encouraging them to work with their governments to oppose the motion. That momentum will not stop.”
Dr Conor O’Gorman, BASC’s policy development manager, said: “The original motion went far beyond the position already established by national wildlife agencies and national and international food safety agencies without evidence to support the claims being made when groups were arguing in favour of an outright ban on lead ammunition.
“There remains no evidence of population level impacts of lead ammunition on wildlife in Europe and agitators have previously failed to persuade regulators in the UK, the European Union and internationally to go beyond existing lead shot restrictions.
“That situation should not change just because certain organisations embarked on an arrogant campaign to impose restrictions on other countries despite the fact that impartial, evidence-based discussions of risk have yet to take place.”
Under the African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement, signatory countries – of which the UK is one – are obliged to legislate to restrict the use of lead shot over wetlands. In the UK, regulations have been introduced restricting the use of lead ammunition over wetlands and for waterfowl.