Countryside Alliance Director of Campaigns Tim Bonner writes: In the last month there has been a proposal put forward by the main party in Norway to repeal the ban on lead in shot, outside of wetlands and clay shooting grounds. The ban, which has been in place since 2005, has been more than a sore spot to the hundreds of thousands of hunters in Norway, so it is good to hear that common sense and fact-led arguments have prevailed over the hasty and ill-motivated ban.
The Norwegians have concluded, following sustained lobbying from the Norway Hunters’ Association (Jegernes Interesseorganisasjon), that there is no evidence of any real harm from the use of lead in shotgun cartridges and they believe that none of the alternatives to lead ammunition are as effective.
The Norway Hunters’ Association summed up the key facts for a repeal effectively – the amount of lead discharged throughout the countryside has a negligible impact on the environment, in comparison to both the potential welfare implications of using alternatives and the unknown environmental implications of those alternatives. The arguments about alternatives to lead shot are well rehearsed (read more about alternatives in our own Case for Lead here), but the simple fact is that it is vital we meet our responsibility to kill wild game in the most humane and effective way.
These are interesting times for shooters in Scandinavian countries – Denmark is this year phasing in a ban on tungsten to add to its lead shot ban. The Danish Hunters’ Association (Jaegerforbundet) has publicly voiced its support for the measures, saying that the health risks are too serious to be ignored in the context of Danish shooting. Our own view here is that we should not be told to use alternatives when we still do not know the full environmental impact they possess.
We know comparisons should not be made between country and country. However, the clear lesson to take from this is that we should only act on evidence when considering restricting types of ammunition. Countries that act in haste on this issue may well end up having to repent later. However many countries are coming under increasing pressure from certain organisations to ban shooting in one form or another. For this reason we should be looking at how other countries are coping with this continued battle and take it all on board to use to shooting’s advantage.
Last year we published our document, The Case for Lead, which you may like to read to have the arguments at your fingertips as the lead-debate continues. Click here, or for hard copies please email [email protected]