Tuesday 27 April 2010

Lead ammunition group first meeting

The first meeting of the new Lead Ammunition Group was held today, and BASC has issued the following statement:
John Swift chair of Lead Ammunition Group said “Our Group held its first meeting today. There was a constructive exchange of views on working practices that will be needed to carry out the tasks set out in the Group’s terms of reference. The Group was in full agreement with keeping public stakeholders fully informed. This process is still at a very early stage and the Group has a full year before making a progress report to Defra and the FSA. The first step is to look closely at the evidence, conduct a risk assessment before deciding what steps if any need to be taken. The group plans to meet again in a month’s time. You will be able to keep in touch with the work of the Group and express your opinions by means of a Group website shortly to be created.
The whole issue of having a group at all, never mind BASC's involvement in it, has been highly contentious. It's split shooting down the middle, and led to some unkind things being said and written. Behind the scenes, shooting's 'old boy network' has gone into overdrive. The feeling seems to be "you're either with us or against us" - with "us" depending on who you're talking to.

All of which leaves journalists like myself in a difficult position. If you try to report the facts honestly and openly, you risk being attacked - whether for 'encouraging a ban' by even mentioning the fact that there are alternatives, being a dinosaur by suggesting that we might resist a ban, or simply  'stirring it up' for one's own perverse personal pleasure (apparently that's what journalists do!).

For what it's worth, and this is purely my personal view, I don't think we'll be shooting lead in 20 years time. Probably not 10 years. And I think we'll all have got used to it and shooting will be strong and healthy regardless. There, that's just lost me a couple of hundred friends for starters!

This is probably the most important issue facing shooting right now, and will be for some time to come. So as a shooting journalist I can't ignore it. I'll do my best to report what's going on honestly and fairly. And when I'm giving a personal opinion I'll make that clear.

So I suppose I shall be annoying those people who think that if we stick our fingers in our ears and go 'La la la' it will all go away. Ah well, you can't please everyone all the time - specially where lead shot is concerned.


Sooty said...

Hi James lead debate means nothing to me but just thought I ought to say that you probably command too much respect to lose friends even if people do not agree with what you say.Think how you say raptors can be allowed by the side of shoots might be more contentious for your friendsand I think your views do raptors a great favour so a big thank you from me.

James Marchington said...

Thanks Sooty, nice of you to say so. I've perhaps overstated the position, but this issue really does divide shooting like no other. I've been really taken aback by the vitriolic comments being made by shooters about shooters.

Holly Heyser said...

Boy, do I hear you on this one.

I think like it or not, you're right on target in your predictions for the future.

I just hope that this working group will learn a couple lessons from how this went down in the U.S.. We have a shining example, Arizona, which did some brilliant voluntary programs with fantastic incentives to switch, and California, where there were lawsuits and new laws shoving change down people's throats, and now you've got extreme hostility.

James Marchington said...

Hi Holly, thanks for that - I'll look into the Arizona story, which I wasn't aware of. Sounds like some useful lessons there for us Brits.

Meconopsis said...

I don't think I can remember anyone falling over dead by eating a Pheasant.

I do see thousands of folk every year getting liver transplants through the use of alcohol and also see similar numbers put into early graves through smoking.

Do the government not allow tonnes of the poison mercury to be produced and emitted into the atmosphere through the use of coal fired PowerStation's ?

Nightjar said...

I think you're spot on - remember, lead was once used for water pipes and in paint, thats all gradually gone. And even if shot in birds isn't a direct problem remember that angling has dropped lead years ago after thousands of swans were slowly poisoned by picking it up as grit from river beds. Taking any risk of lead out of the food chain has got to be good, especially when wild game can be one of the healthiest foods around - fit & lean and pesticide free.

Sooty said...

Sometimes just have to laugh at comment by Fox and agree with him/her.

モバゲータウン said...