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Leading shooting and rural organisations have today announced they want an end to the use of lead and single-use plastics in shotgun ammunition for live quarry shooting within five years
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), British Game Alliance (BGA), Countryside Alliance (CA), Country Land and Business Association (CLA), Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), National Gamekeepers' Organisation (NGO), the Moorland Association (MA), Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and Scottish Association for Country Sports (SACS) say significant recent advances in technology have enabled the transition to take place.
The group is calling for the support of the wider shooting community and says such a change will benefit wildlife and the environment while also safeguarding the growing market for healthy game meat.
A spokesperson said: "The shooting community must maintain its place at the forefront of conservation and environmental protection. Continued development of non-lead shot and recyclable and bio-degradable plastics means the time is right for a complete transition.
"The five-year proposal allows for a smooth transition giving both the shooting community and the industry time to adapt. As organisations that serve our members, we will be leading the way with this transition, ensuring that it is successful.
"This is a significant announcement, but one the shooting community should not fear. British wildfowlers and other European countries have already moved away from lead without detriment to participation or performance.
"While tradition is important in shooting and should be defended where possible, so is evolution if we are to continue to maintain our position at the heart of the British countryside. Shooting has changed greatly over the years and this move is just the next step in that illustrious history.
"Our organisations urge the shooting community to support the Gun Trade Association and cartridge manufacturers as they further develop ammunition for every situation involving live quarry. In doing so, they will enhance shooting community's reputation as the rightful custodians of our countryside."
Here at Sporting Shooter we support and commend the move, which can only enhance the reputation of shooters as custodians of the countryside, while aiding the quest to bring more of our wonderful, healthy game meat to an ever-growing market. Although we recognise there will be challenges to face along the way, we would urge our readers to do what they can to aid this transition.
The joint statement, signed by all nine organisations, read as follows:
"In consideration of wildlife, the environment, and to ensure a market for the healthiest game products at home and abroad, we wish to see an end to both lead and single-use plastics in ammunition used by those taking all live quarry with shotguns within five years.
The shooting community must maintain its place at the forefront of wildlife conservation and protection. Sustainability in our practices is of utmost importance. Many years ago, wetland restrictions demanded a move away from lead shot and we believe it is necessary to begin a further phased transition.
Recently, there have been significant developments in the quality and availability of non-lead shotgun cartridges, and plastic cases can now be recycled. For the first time, biodegradable shot cups for steel shot, with the necessary ballistics to ensure lethality, are available. These welcome advances are continuing at an ever-quickening pace, in response to demand from a changing market. Such advances mean that, over the coming years, a complete transition is achievable.
We are jointly calling for our members to engage in this transition and work with us, the Gun Trade Association and the cartridge manufacturers to ensure that further viable alternatives are developed for every situation involving live quarry. This is an opportunity to take the initiative and ensure the reputation of the shooting community, as custodians of the countryside, is both maintained and enhanced."
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