July has been a rather good month for those around the world who are keen to see an end to the unnecessary poisoning of wildlife and humans via toxic lead ammunition.
California led the way at the start of the month by banning the use of toxic lead ammunition (for hunting wildlife) to help protect the Critically Endangered California Condor.
Yesterday, according to an article in the Guardian, Waitrose announced it was phasing out the sale of game meat that has been shot with toxic lead ammunition. By 2020/21 all of Waitrose’s game meat will be shot without the use of lead – which is to be applauded, but it does mean that this winter your game meat could still be served with added lead. Presumably Waitrose are taking this approach because they have recognised the risks of selling lead infused food to their customers. If they recognise these risks I wonder if they will be making them clear via packaging or strategically placed notices in the game meat aisle? Such notices could point customers (especially pregnant women or those with young families) to the Food Standards Agency advice.
Coincidentally, also in the Guardian yesterday was a letter from various experts on the subject of lead poisoning and toxicology, urging a switch to alternative non-toxic ammunition.
The Government has been rather useless at introducing measures to phase out the use of toxic lead ammunition, despite the advice of its own working group. It seems that Waitrose is prepared to go where others fear to tread – let’s hope that the likes of Sainsbury’s, Tesco et al follow suit. One could also conclude that the shooting industry remains several steps behind, maybe one day they’ll catch up?