Great Ayton Moor

It’s been a while, a blue sky and high cirrus clouds, and a huge sigh of relief from the hundreds of Red grouse inhabiting the moor.

December 10th, the last day of the grouse shooting season. They’re safe now until the “Glorious Twelfth”, the 12th August, free to survive the winter and to procreate, to produce next season’s bag.

The meat from grouse could possibly end up on supermarket shelves as ‘wild game‘, along with Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges. Lead shot is the ammunition usually used, the pellets fragmenting whilst passing through the flesh resulting in tiny shards of lead being distributed through the bird’s body1Wild Justice. (2021). Lead-contaminated game meat found for sale on Sainsbury’s shelves – Wild Justice. [online] Available at: https://wildjustice.org.uk/lead-ammunition/lead-contaminated-game-meat-found-for-sale-on-sainsburys-shelves/ [Accessed 10 Dec. 2021]..

It is well-known that lead is poisonous, but these fragments are considered too fiddly to remove during food preparation. Other meats such as beef, lamb, pork and chicken, have Maximum Levels (MLs) for lead set by the government, but no such ML has been set for game meat. So all sales are perfectly legal.

Non-toxic ammunition is available, it is typically used for duck shooting. Waitrose is now asking their suppliers to supply lead-free game meat but other supermarkets have yet to follow their lead.

So perhaps think again if you fancy a game casserole or pie.

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