Where is your evidence?

Research includes: Lead shot killing wildlife Poisoning from lead gunshot: still a threat to wild waterbirds, 2013 – European Journal of Wildlife Research stating, “Our results indicate that lead poisoning has continued to affect a wide range of British waterbirds long after legal restrictions were introduced.” Economic assessment of wild bird mortality induced by the sue of lead gunshot in European Wetlands, 2018 – Science of the Total Environment stating, “Our results suggest that the benefits of a restriction on the use of lead gunshot over wetlands could exceed the cost of adapting to non-lead ammunition.” Lead shot v steel shot Non-toxic shot – Danish experiences by Niels Kanstrup stating, “Research by the Hunters Association also demonstrated that steel shot was just as effective as lead shot for killing birds.” Switch to non-toxic shot in the Camargue, France: effect on waterbird contamination and hunter effectiveness stating, “After 11 years of hunting with non-toxic shot, there was unexpectedly no clear pattern in trends of individual effectiveness among hunters [using different shot types]. Hunter effectiveness was instead positively influenced by game abundance and hunter assiduity and negatively influenced by wind and number of shots” A comparison of lead and steel shot loads for harvesting mourning doves stating, “Field analyses detected no difference in doves bagged per shot, wounded per shot, bagged per hit, or wounded per hit among the 3 ammunition types [Pb 7½ 32 g, Fe 7 28g and Fe 6 28 g] ” Lead in hunting Lead in Hunting Ammunition: Persistent Problems and Solutions

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Are you asking people to stop using plastic cartridge cases?

No. There is now a huge market for recycled plastic and we are encouraging guns to support manufacturers’ efforts to produce plastic cartridges from recycled, rather than new, plastic. We are calling for an end to non-biodegradable plastic wads in shotgun cartridges, which are not routinely or effectively collected during live quarry shooting.

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What do you mean by a phased transition?

The development of non-lead cartridges has been rapid and ongoing. However, there are still improvements to be made in availability and choice, especially for smaller-gauge guns. We are therefore phasing the transition over a five-year period to enable manufacturers to bring the products that are currently in development to market.

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I heard that Norway reversed its lead ban.

This is true, but the situation Norway faced in 2014 is quite different from where we are now, in 2020. Their principal reason for reversing a lead ban was insufficient lethality in their available non-lead rifle ammunition. In addition, the use of shotguns in Norwegian woodland is very low compared with the UK. Furthermore, the quality of non-lead shotgun cartridges has increased significantly over the last six years and will only continue to do so during our transition period. We are not proposing any change to rifle ammunition.

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What should I be asking for at my local gun shop?

If you have checked with a gunsmith, and are confident that your gun is suitable, we suggest using steel shot going forward. Ask for shot two sizes larger than you currently use in lead (e.g. size 4 steel if you currently use size 6 in lead) and insist on biodegradable wads.

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What about those of us who use large lead shot for controlling foxes?

Advances in steel shot cartridges have resulted in viable lead shot alternatives for larger wildfowl such as geese. However, adult foxes may require greater shot pellet density for effective penetration, energy transfer and humane despatch. There are a number of excellent non-lead alternatives in use for coyote and fox shooting in the USA, said by many to work even better than lead. During the transition period, we will be working with cartridge manufacturers and importers to ensure these alternatives become available in the UK.

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