Outcomes from monitoring the fourth year of a five-year voluntary transition from hunting with lead to non-lead shotgun ammunition in Britain

  • Published source details Green R.E., Taggart M.A., Pain D.J., Clark N.A., Clewley L., Cromie R., Dodd S.G., Huntley B., Huntley J., Leslie R., Porter R., Price M., Robinson J.A., Robinson R.A., Sinclair M.J., Smith K.W., Smith L., Spencer J. & Stroud D. (2024) Outcomes from monitoring the fourth year of a five-year voluntary transition from hunting with lead to non-lead shotgun ammunition in Britain. Conservation Evidence, 21, 6-12.


The 2023/2024 shooting season was the fourth since UK shooting and rural organisations announced their intention that hunters should make a full voluntary transition from the use of lead to non-lead shotgun ammunition by 2025. The SHOT-SWITCH research project has monitored the proportions of wild-shot common pheasants Phasianus colchicus available to consumers in Great Britain that were killed using lead and non-lead shot in each of the shooting seasons since the beginning of the transition. In the study’s fourth season, 2023/2024, 93% of pheasants obtained during the usual sampling period had been killed using lead ammunition. Whilst this indicates a marginal decline in the proportion of pheasants shot using lead since the beginning of the transition, when it was over 99%, much remains to be done if the intended full voluntary transition to non-lead shotgun ammunition is to be achieved in its final season (2024/2025). Some food retailers intend to cease selling game meat products from animals killed using lead ammunition. Our study indicates that whilst all of a small sample of pheasant carcasses obtained from one of these retailers (Marks & Spencer) were from birds killed using non-lead shot, a larger sample obtained from another of the retailers (Waitrose) had mostly been killed using lead shot.

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