Offentliggjort den: 12. november 2020

Denmark to ban lead in hunting ammunition

PRESS RELEASE: Lea Wermelin, Minister for Environment, and the Danish Hunters’ Association want to phase out the use of leaded rifle ammunition for hunting because lead is a heavy element with no place in nature. This decision would make Denmark the first country in the world to completely ban leaded hunting ammunition - both in shotgun pellets and rifle ammunition.

Each year, 200,000 mammals are killed in Denmark. If all hunters use leaded rifle ammunition, this would correspond to Danish hunters dumping up to 2,000 kg of lead in nature each year according to the Danish Hunters' Association. Lead should not end up in Danish nature or in our food chains. Lead is toxic for life in watercourses and lakes. For example, it damages fish, crustaceans and water plants, and even in small amounts, lead can cause brain damage and damage the learning ability of children.

Therefore, Lea Wermelin, Minister for Environment, and the Danish Hunters' Association want to phase out leaded rifle ammunition to make hunting in Denmark more sustainable.

“Lead is a heavy element with no place in Danish nature or in our food chains. Hunting in Denmark must be sustainable, and not pollute our shared nature. This is why I’m happy that the government, together with the Danish Hunters' Association, are working towards making Denmark the first country in the world to ban leaded rifle ammunition for hunting. Just as we were the first country in the world to ban lead shot in shotgun cartridges,” says Lea Wermelin. 

First country in the world to ban leaded hunting ammunition

The sale and use of lead pellets for hunting has been banned in Denmark since 1996.

The Danish Hunters' Association has long been working on finding alternatives to the leaded projectiles used in hunting rifles. Now the alternatives are so good that it is possible to remove lead from all hunting ammunition.

“As a green interest organisation, it’s essential for us that our passion for hunting doesn’t pollute nature. Denmark was the first country in the world to ban the use of lead in gun shot. We were the first country in the world to require biodegradable wads in shotgun cartridges , and now we’ll also  be the first country in the world to ban the use of leaded rifle ammunition for hunting,” says Marie-Louise M. Achton-Lyng, chairman of the weapons committee of the Danish Hunters' Association.

Work begins

Phasing-out lead in rifle ammunition will require amending the Firearms and Ammunition for Hunting act.

Projectiles containing lead are heavier than alternatives without lead, such as copper. Therefore, the weight requirements for bullets must be reviewed for all Danish species of game.

It is particularly important that adjustments to the requirements for hunting ammunition are completed in a manner that ensures that the game is killed efficiently and responsibly.

The Ministry of Environment and Food is therefore examining how the requirements for rifle ammunition can be adjusted so that unleaded rifle ammunition can be used safely and ensure a clean kill. The ministry is also examining the technical and safety aspects linked to imposing such a ban. Following this, phasing out lead can begin in practice.

The phasing-out of lead in rifle ammunition used for hunting is expected to be in force in 2023 after a period of transition.

For more information:

Nina Maria Klok, press advisor, the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, tel.: +45 24 96 81 57, email: nimkl@mfvm.dk

 

Facts:

  • The sale, possession and use of lead shotgun pellets for hunting is already prohibited in Denmark.
  • Limiting the use of lead in rifle ammunition will require amending the Firearms and Ammunition for Hunting act
  • This will be temporary national regulation, until new EU regulation is adopted on the area. The European Chemicals Agency is working on a similar prohibition in the EU. Denmark can therefore adopt a ban without contravening EU regulations.
  • The phase-out of lead in rifle ammunition used for hunting is expected to be in force in 2023 after a period of transition.