30 countries across Europe have banned the hunting of birds using lead shot in wetlands.
“Despite banning lead from paint, pencils, and virtually everything else several decades ago, it was still allowed to poison our shared environment – even when alternatives exist,” says Barbara Herrero, senior EU nature policy officer at BirdLife Europe. “With this ban, the EU has addressed a significant part of the problem. We now call on EU countries to make sure the ban is enforced.”
Lead’s high level of toxicity wreaks havoc on wildlife. Waterbirds, mistaking lead shot for food or grit, consume the poisonous substance and spread the toxicity to scavengers and predatory birds, contaminating ecosystems. Any game killed with a lead shot is also a risk to people, particularly children and pregnant women, as it has the potential to harm developing brains and nervous systems. The new law is applicable to all 27 EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein, with enforcement officers set to be in charge of monitoring whether people are using lead shots.