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Conor O'Gorman

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About Conor O'Gorman

  • Birthday 01/01/1974

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  • From
    Rossett, North Wales
  • Interests
    Policy Development Manager for BASC.<br />Enjoy pigeon shooting, wildfowling and fly-fishing.

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  1. Yesterday the House of Commons petitions committee debated grouse shooting and it is well worth a read/watch (see links below). MPs from all parties took part and MPs emphasised the benefits of grouse shooting to wildlife, conservation and local communities. Click here to watch the debate Click here to read a transcript of the debate
  2. The Welsh Government has withdrawn Covid-19 recovery grants to shooting businesses for being “related to blood sports”. This policy is being challenged by the shooting organisations. More information here: https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/outrage-rural-wales-flintshire-game-20822302
  3. As part of Defra’s animal welfare action plan the government has launched a call for evidence on The Fur Market in Great Britain. The consultation runs until 28 June and is a potential precursor for a GB-wide ban on the sale and import of all fur from farmed and wild animals. The survey response form contains a public attitudes section. Some of the questions about the sustainable use of animals are of significant concern. For example, people are asked whether ‘it’s wrong for animals to be killed for their fur’ and whether ‘it’s acceptable for fur to be produced as a by-product of legal hunting or population control’. Such questions set a dangerous precedent because policy decisions on the utilisation of animals should be based on evidence rather than emotion. The survey is open to anyone worldwide and you don’t have to answer every question to complete it. Click here for Defra’s fur trade call for evidence Click here for an evidence-based briefing from the British Fur Trade Association Have Your Say Even if you feel that the fur trade has nothing to do with your shooting interests, please take a few minutes to have your say and show solidarity with those that are producing sustainably produced fur. A ban on the sale and import of fur from farmed and wild animals will not appease animal rights extremists who will continue to seek a ban on all animal products and on farming and fieldsports. You can fill in an online survey form on the call for evidence website or you can email fur@defra.gov.uk with your comments.
  4. Defra’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare covers a range of topics with potential to impact on shooting/conservation including animal sentience, hares, 'trophy hunting', snares and electronic training collars. A good overview of the issues is here: https://www.fieldsportschannel.tv/animalsentience/
  5. The government has today announced plans to introduce an interim licensing scheme for gamebird release on and within 500m of European Protected Sites (Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs)) in England. The announcement follows a period of consultation and will come into force 31st May. The interim scheme will affect those who release pheasants and red legged partridges on and near to European Protected Sites. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gamebirds-licence-to-release-common-pheasants-or-red-legged-partridges-on-european-sites-and-within-500m-of-their-boundary-gl43
  6. Farming, environment, animal and fire organisations are calling for a national ban on sky lanterns in a joint letter submitted by the National Farmers Union to Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow. Sky lanterns cause wildfires and kill and injure livestock. Further restrictions on their use are long overdue. Once lit and released they can travel out of control for miles across the countryside and it is left to farmers, gamekeepers and landowners to deal with the litter and damage they cause. https://www.nfuonline.com/news/latest-news/nfu-calls-for-national-ban-on-sky-lanterns/
  7. Thank you for the above feedback on BASC's May/June 2021 members' magazine 'Shooting and Conservation'. With regard to the OP, country shows and game fairs are often very diverse in what they offer; they appeal to a wide audience and often feature militaria and historic firearms. In this instance, the gentleman pictured with the rifle is SAS Veteran Pete Winner. The accompanying caption (which is not visible on the photograph posted) advertises a talk by Pete Winner on both days of the show which takes place on 25 & 26 September 2021. For more information on the South Yorkshire Shooting Show and Game Fair visit: https://www.southyorkshireshootingshow.com/
  8. @Fellside Thank you. I was expecting the opposite reaction (or none at all) as your feedback on the paper and I apologise for misjudging your clearly open minded position on this topic. For those that have not read the paper it is here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13280-019-01159-0 And that paper is part of a wider collection of papers published in 2019 evidencing the latest research on the impact of lead ammunition on wildlife, environment and human health here: https://link.springer.com/journal/13280/volumes-and-issues/48-9
  9. The voluntary transition being encouraged is to move away from lead and single-use plastics in ammunition used by those taking all live quarry with shotguns. Given the continued attempts at conspiracy theories taking us away from the OP I think it's worth repeating that in February last year nine organisations stated: "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." These nine organisations are: BASC, Countryside Alliance, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, British Game Alliance, Country Land and Business Association, Moorland Association, National Gamekeepers' Organisation, Scottish Land and Estates, and Game Farmers Association. The OP was an update on the voluntary transition and a discussion around plastic in shotgun cartridges is indeed relevant. Shotgun wads can be sometimes eaten by livestock and there is anecdotal evidence that felt wads are more likely to be eaten than plastic wads because they are more palatable. However, there has not been any scientific research investigating toxic effects to livestock of eating shotgun wads of any type; albeit there is a perception that plastic wads could pose a risk to livestock because they there are more visible to us on the land. Shotgun wads using paper or water-soluble materials will break down quicker on land relative to plastic wads. Plastic wads can find their way into wetlands and the marine environment. There has been research in USA and Denmark on the potential negative impacts of this on wildlife as well as contributing to marine litter generally. The innovation of new, effective, field-tested sustainable ammunition is continuing apace and this is laying the foundation for a voluntary transition away from single-use plastic and lead shot in the UK.
  10. Thanks. A recent paper that covers the terrestrial context is here: 2019. Effects of lead from ammunition on birds and other wildlife: A review and update. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13280-019-01159-0
  11. For anyone interested in reading summaries of some of the latest research up to 2019 see the following: Ambio - a journal of the human environment Volume 48, issue 9, September 2019 Special Issue: Lead in Hunting Ammunition: Persistent Problems and Solutions https://link.springer.com/journal/13280/volumes-and-issues/48-9
  12. I have read the latest comments in this and the other inter-related thread with interest. It is disappointing, but not surprising, that some continue to try and conflate any discussion about the evidence of the impacts of lead ammunition on wildlife, environment and human health and the phase out of lead ammunition with BASC and accusations of capitulation by BASC and ridiculous conspiracy theories about BASC. However, the fact is that three things are happening. Firstly, a public consultation has begun in the European Union on proposals to further restrict the sale and use of lead ammunition. If these proposals are implemented that would have an impact UK shooting given the EU is the main market for our shot game and for the trade in firearms and ammunition. Secondly, in the UK, a two-year review of the evidence around lead ammunition is taking place, which may result in a public consultation on options for restrictions. Thirdly, the UK shooting organisations are continuing to encourage a voluntary transition away from lead and single-use plastics in shotgun ammunition for live quarry shooting by 2025. As regards comments questioning the validity of the evidence of lead shot poisoning in wildfowl and other birds the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have been autopsying dead birds and x-raying live birds captured over many years, as has been referenced in earlier comments. Unfortunately, questions keep arising about compliance by us as shooters with the existing lead shot regs - for example up to 77% of ducks purchased from game dealers in England have been found to have been shot with lead as per studies published in 2012 and 2015. See:http://www.oxfordleadsymposium.info/wp-content/uploads/OLS_proceedings/papers/OLS_proceedings_pain_cromie_green.pdf Before anyone starts commenting that this was ages ago, I am reliably informed that more recent data shows that compliance has become even worse. This non-compliance with the law is almost certainly from inland duck shooting, both commercial and recreational, but not wildfowling. Clearly though the ducks are still finding a way to pick up pellets as they’re moving around the country, presumably from when they stop at inland ponds en route to our larger estuaries, or when coming in land to feed at night. Many of the research papers identify lead pellets in the gizzard, and elevated lead levels in the blood (of live ducks) or liver or kidney (of dead ducks) so it is unlikely that the lead has come from other sources, but there will of course be exceptions to that.
  13. Access to the full paper has to be paid for - but possibly free for students in universities to access - or I guess one could request a copy from one of the authors. I am fairly sure it would be a breach of copyright law to publish the paper in full online. However, the full paper and many more has been reviewed by scientists at the GWCT and they have published a lead shot Q&A here: https://www.gwct.org.uk/policy/briefings/lead-ammunition/ There are also many full access papers on the topic available from the 2014 Oxford Lead Symposium here: http://oxfordleadsymposium.info/
  14. The GWCT reference was to the following 2015 paper from the 2014 Oxford Lead Symposium: http://www.oxfordleadsymposium.info/wp-content/uploads/OLS_proceedings/papers/OLS_proceedings_pain_cromie_green.pdf For more information on the 2014 Oxford Lead Symposium and all the papers published see: http://oxfordleadsymposium.info/ It is worth noting that the 50,000 - 100,000 figure and other estimates were quoted in a recent Defra press release about a two-year UK lead ammunition review: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-announced-to-phase-out-lead-ammunition-in-bid-to-protect-wildlife The UK lead ammunition review will need to consider a complex mix of economics, technical factors and attitudes. I think the review will provide opportunities for a rational assessment and positive solutions and after all, as conservationists, we are committed to further reducing the risks of lead ammunition to the environment, wildlife and human health. That said, there is a key principle we must not lose sight of, that further restrictions on lead ammunition must not be imposed until effective and affordable types of sustainable ammunition are available in sufficient volumes to meet demand. Ammunition manufacturers in the UK and abroad are developing new products but the amount of non-lead ammunition required for the UK and world-wide market with current production facilities is a significant challenge; especially with biodegradable wads in the mix.
  15. @Fellside That paper covers a large dataset over many years and there are hundreds of more research papers available for review on this topic from around the world. The GWCT has reviewed the research so far and they state the following: Recent published estimates (2015) suggest 50,000-100,000 wildfowl die each year from lead poisoning in the UK, with between 200,000 and 400,000 thought to suffer welfare effects from ingestion or through embedded lead. Computer modelling of bird populations and correlative studies suggest that lead poisoning may be affecting population growth rates and sizes in a number of bird species in the UK, including dabbling ducks, diving ducks and grey partridges, and in common buzzards and red kites in Europe. Effects of lead poisoning have been documented extensively in waterbirds, and also in terrestrial birds including game and predatory species. In some species present in the UK, namely mallards, whooper swans and golden eagles, recent studies have shown effects at lower blood concentrations than previously reported. This development reflects conclusions that there is no clear threshold below which human health is not affected by lead exposure. For more info see: https://www.gwct.org.uk/policy/briefings/lead-ammunition/ If you wish to disagree and find flaws with the science and scientists at the WWT, GWCT and others worldwide you are of course free to do so. Also, here is an interesting video that has interviews with a scientist in Spain and with a scientist in Denmark and with other snippets of information. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIIwjE_usQ8
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