Rather like the scientific papers he refers to, his post is full of 'suggests' this, 'maybe' that and 'I wonder' the other. The papers imply causal links without proper methodology. Kids with slightly higher lead levels are thicker than average... did anyone check whether they also happen to come from poorer families, where a) environmental exposure to eg lead paint may be higher, and b) educational performance may be lower for reasons other than lead? The 'science' doesn't say. It just leaves the implied accusation hanging in the air.
Fact is, everything is toxic. Salt, grass, tofu, carrots and lettuce leaves will all kill you if you eat enough of it. We don't run around in a panic, because it's a potential problem, not a real one. As we get better at measuring tiny amounts of this and that, any hobby-horse scare that attracts funding can be whipped up into a full-blown panic, because you'll never get a scientist to say anything is 100% safe.
Yes, we should take a good, objective look at lead ammunition, just in case it's more of a problem than we thought. But we're going to have to look very hard indeed to find gamekeepers or their kids lying around dead and injured because they ate too much partridge!
Which reminds me, I must look into what happened to T-shot [pdf]. That's the treatment that wraps up lead shot in a Teflon-like coat. Last I heard it was looking promising - and if it prevents lead getting into game meat at all, well it would scupper Mark Avery's argument. Or would it? I sometimes wonder where the RSPB are really going with this.
Talking of which, I see that the RSPB are looking to get their mitts on "well over a million hectares" of Britain via their new Futurescapes initiative, due to be launched in June [UPDATE 4 May: a Futurescapes page has just appeared on the RSPB website]. Not content with running their reserves and badgering the rest of us on how to be nice to birds, they want to control huge areas of the country without going to all the bother and expense of actually buying them.
I have a mental image of Mark Avery stroking a white cat and smirking "Mwahaha, you see Mr Bond, not even you can stop my plan for world domination!"
An RSPB spokesman yesterday