Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Lead shot update: a heavy hint from the RSPB

Call me paranoid, but when the idea of doing away with lead shot & bullets is 'top of mind' with someone like the RSPB's Mark Avery, and he's dropping heavy hints - like "we know that a variety of organisations are talking about this as an issue that needs to be addressed" - then can legislation be far behind?

8 comments:

NorCal Cazadora said...

In California, we find out next week just how much further our condor-region lead ban will go. No one here is optimistic.

vicky said...

If lead shot really does damage the environment it should be banned.....but is there proof other than on wetlands? Why are we banned in England from shooting ducks with lead even if they are not over wetland but could shoot a pheasant on a marsh with lead?

NorCal Cazadora said...

Far be it from me to understand regulators, but it's the same here - the only legal ammunition for taking waterfowl is non-toxic, regardless of where you take them. I suspect it's to avoid arguments of how close one is to the pond when shooting over dry land? Who knows.

As for proof, I live in California, and our Fish and Game Commission seems content with a fairly low level of proof on this issue.

James Marchington said...

Real science doesn't seem to count for much any more. Lobbyists are content to use pseudo-science to monster whatever is in their sights (from mobile phone masts to foxhunting to lead shot). See www.badscience.net. Once the 'public' are sufficiently bamboozled, with the aid of equally spurious 'surveys', it's easy to push through legislation that has no scientific basis whatsoever. In this case, lead is generally thought to be 'a bad thing', so any politician taking a stand against lead automatically raises his/her approval rating - something most of them could well do with right now!

NorCal Cazadora said...

I think we do know lead is a toxic substance; what we don't know is where lead ammunition stands in the spectrum of threat. We do know raptors are still dying of lead poisoning despite the lead ban for waterfowl hunting. We also know far more raptors die in collisions with cars.

James Marchington said...

Agreed. But most substances are toxic; the dose is the vital factor. I'm always wary of the 'it's generally accepted' line. Go back to the original data and often there's very little basis for the belief.

For example, I just did a google search and came up with this one: Risk Assessment of Lead Poisoning in Raptors Caused by Recreational Shooting of Prairie Dogs. Conclusion: "...Analysis of red blood cell delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase activity, hemoglobin levels, and protoporphyrin levels also did not indicate Pb poisoning in Ferruginous Hawk nestlings. Additionally, blood and feather samples from Golden Eagle nestlings and feather samples from Burrowing Owls (juveniles and adults) at TBNG did not indicate Pb poisoning..."

Not what you'd expect from the title, and a serious blow to the "lead is bad" lobby. So they push it aside and keep campaigning.

Anonymous said...

One to watch out for here is the rise of the fake charity. Quite a number of apparently innocent "charities" such as Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and a slew of politically correct ones, plus a few gun control ones are not what you or I might term charities as such at all.

The effective definition of a fake charity is an organisation which receives the majority of its funding from Government, often by a cut-out of some sort. These charities fulfill the role that the clientes of ancient Rome did: they're paid supporters for a political cause.

Thus far, astroturfing of political rallies aside, the general public doesn't seem to be very aware or concerned about this latest political corruption, or is indifferent to yet another scam by this most sullied of recent Governments.

As another example, the RSPB received a total of £19,731,000 in public money during 2008, which is high but not unique.

NorCal Cazadora said...

California just opted not to expand its lead ban - a 4-1 vote. The (almost) consensus was that the science isn't there to justify it, and some information that came out today cast doubt on some of the earlier science that's been used in this debate.