Ban of lead in ammunition: why the ban doesn’t make much sense and what ECHA tries to proof

Since the start of the EU's campaign of ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) against lead in ammo, we at have been demonstrating what it truly is: an ideological crusade with no scientific basis whatsoever, carried on with arrogance in utter disregard of reality and stakeholders' opinions, economically suicidal, and basically aimed against all law-abiding gun owners, both hunters and sport shooters, in the name of a rabid anti-gun agenda. What’s new? Currently another episode of the battle against lead in ammunition is on its way: SEAC (ECHA’s Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis) has opened a new public consultation (ending on October 6, 2022) about the “poisonous effect of lead shot in game meat”. But that’s also a chance to give truth a chance and to submit to ECHA / SEAC what is true and what is not!

Now, Brian D. Dunn offers an interesting contribution to the debate, as seen from the English perspective. Among other things, Dunn is an experienced foreshore wildfowler, Clay Competitor to World Championships FITASC and 4x County Champion / Winning County Team Member, having also experienced 35 years of Driven Pheasant / Partridge shooting on prestige estates. In an article titled “The Truth About Lead Shot” just published on the Country Squire Magazine, he analyzes some fundamental points, including alternative materials for shot and bullets, the actual health risks posed by lead in ammo, up to the role of country sports representative bodies in the battle against the lead ban.

Alternative materials to lead in ammunition?

Steelshot is not an alternative to lead shot, costing at least x4 the price of lead ammunition and unsafe to use in many guns. And it's not even environmentally "safe".

It must be said that since 1991, in England lead shot is already banned for hunting geese, ducks and other water fowl and for killing vermin on sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). “Mr Swift as Chief Executive Officer of BASC (WAGBI) made a public statement to members in 1998 that any lead alternative would be required to meet 4 priority conditions before it could be accepted for use in English proofed shotguns. SAFE in all English Proofed shotguns. EFFECTIVE as a ballistic material for cleanly killing live quarry. AFFORDABLE compared with the then current price of lead ammunition. ENVIRONMENTALLY acceptable to the countryside and humans.”

“To date no lead alternative has met all 4 criteria and some meet none,” Dunn bitterly comments: Steelshot is simply not effective but is the cheapest alternative although costing at least x4 the price of lead ammunition, he adds. “It is unsafe in English proofed guns unless protected by massive plastic wads, is used with very little choke, but it has been proven in Europe to cause serious environmental damage to trees and herbage. Used on live quarry it penetrates, breaks blood vessels, causes little ‘shock’ trauma, but kills from causing internal bleed not instant death, which does happen up to hours after initial injury.”

The myth of “poisonous” lead in ammunition

This brings us to the core of the issue: how poisonous is lead in ammunition? Please don’t forget we are talking about lead metal and we are talking about realistic particle sizes as it may come from slugs and shot.

However, “once killed by lead ammunition, game meat has been safely consumed in enormous quantities by the public, worldwide, for centuries,” the author remarks.

So, is lead in ammo actually safe? It can't be: they tell us it is poisonous! “During New Labour’s 13 years in Government, it conducted a multi £million (£150m) investigation to establish how many human deaths have been attributed to ingestion of lead shot from game meat. Its research, which was intensive, thorough, and very costly, found not a single death recorded, Dunn says. 

Until either chemically contaminated or elevated in temperature to very high levels, lead is in fact an inert metal and not poisonous, and pieces of spent lead shot in common shot sizes because of its “heavy weight” will pass through the digestive systems of both wildlife and humans so quickly that no chance of chemical contamination can occur. 

In case of doubt, just remember that amongst the common staples of human diet, potatoes, cereal and tap water will deliver annually up to 40 times the amount of ingested lead that a shooting season’s eating of normal quantities of game meat could deliver to the human ingestion system.

“Put simply and honestly there has, and never can be, a case against lead ammunition which is able to withstand scientific scrutiny into it being a 'proven' lethal poison to humans, wildlife or the environment.”

The role of representative bodies within the shooting community in UK when it comes to lead in ammunition

It's not all government's fault: Dunn also blames the British representative bodies within the shooting community for not presenting an effective defense of British Shooting Sports against the 1999 ban on use of lead shot for waterfowl shooting, or challenging the fundamental case of lead shot being accused of being toxic and causing the death of wildlife, or its potential knock-on effects on humans eating lead shot meat.

“The whole history of the last 30 years of the failed defence of British Shooting Sports by its member funded representative bodies is littered with inadequate representation and acquiescence in the face of serious long term damaging attack, a failure to either commission or conduct adequate research into the claimed toxicity of lead ammunition,” the expert stresses.

"The biggest failure of all British country sports’ representative bodies, has been their failure to amalgamate under a single federated body as a collective representative voice with which to confront any potentially injurious and unfounded attacks made against any element of British Country Sports.

Are we still making the same mistakes?

Make up your mind: here is the link to the public consultation of SEAC

The full article by Brian D. Dunn can be found on the Country Squire Magazine.

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