Game meat sold by Sainsbury’s and Waitrose contains high levels of lead which would be illegal in chicken, pork and beef. However, there is no legal limit for lead in wild animals which have been shot. Despite this anomaly, the UK Food Standards Agency warns that exposure to lead can harm the developing brain and nervous system.
Sainsbury’s fails to warn their customers about the pollution of game meat by lead shot as found in pheasant, partridge and deer. Waitrose has not met a pledge to ban it according to the broadcaster Chris Packham who co-founded the campaign group Wild Justice.
He said that the issue was easy to resolve: ban the use of lead shot. The government is considering this suggestion. Waitrose said that it was committed to removing lead from game and claimed that they were disappointed in not meeting its target. Sainsbury’s said that they were in favour of the shooting businesses phasing out the use of lead shot within five years and are in discussion with their suppliers.
Comment: I have a better idea: ban the sport shooting industry completely. It is out of date and cruel. There are other issues which are detrimental to conservation about which I have written earlier. I just don’t see the need for it. We can do without it. There is a new attitude or at least a new attitude is emerging in the UK and I hope elsewhere which better respects the environment and animals. Let’s build on that and not only phase-out lead shot over 5 years but phase-out the whole obnoxious business in the long-term.