The time has finally come: Denmark has announced a complete ban on lead for hunting ammunition. The Danish Ministry of Environment and Food and the Danish Hunters Association made the announcement together. After a transitional period, the ban will be fully implemented in 2023.
With this decision, Denmark will go down in history as the first country in the world to introduce a national lead ban on hunting ammunition. This is of vital importance for nature in general and for birds in particular.
“Neither birds of prey nor people or other animals should have their food flavored with heavy metals,” says Egon Østergaard, Chairman of BirdLife Denmark.
“Lead poisoning is a health hazard for birds. We have put in a lot of work to convince the government changes to put in place a total leadership ban. So we are of course happy that a complete ban is finally becoming a reality. “BirdLife Denmark has reason to celebrate: They have worked tirelessly for years to ban lead.
Whooper swans, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the Surfbirds Galleries
A bit of history: in 1996 Denmark was the first European country to completely ban lead shot for hunting. However, lead in rifle cartridges remained legal. In 2019 the Danish Hunters Association supported BirdLife Denmark’s longstanding call for a complete ban on lead in hunting. And that was a game changer.
The Danish lead ban comes at a crucial time: the European Parliament is currently debating a ban on lead shot in European wetlands. A demand that is strongly supported by BirdLife Denmark.
“Hopefully the Danish ban can put pressure on the other member states of the European Union. There are alternatives to lead shots and a ban on lead shots in Europe’s wetlands will make a big difference for European birds, ”says Egon Østergaard.
Even microscopic amounts of lead are poisonous to birds and other wild animals. Birds of prey are particularly at risk as lead builds up in the food chain.
Lead is poison for birds, biodiversity and humans. Find out more about why the EU should #BanLead in our infographic.