Various pro-shoot groups have announced that they plan to “phase out” the use of plastic shells and lead shot used by shooters in the British countryside. On the surface this is a very small but welcome step, but many, including myself, have met the announcement with extreme cynicism.

In 2015, a scientific report recommending the ban of lead shot in the UK was rejected by the government after lobbying by pro-shoot groups.

In fact, some pro-shooting members of the Lead Ammunition Group (LAG), which was set up to investigate the dangers of lead shot, resigned from the group stating that the risks attributed to lead ammunition were “being exaggerated.”

Further evidence was published in 2017, but again there was no change in attitude from the shooting lobby.

Just last year, FACE (UK), a pro-shooting group which includes BASC and the Countryside Alliance, issued a statement saying it “does not support general bans on lead in ammunition”.

So, what has changed? To have a change of heart would imply that they’d looked at the evidence, weighed up the facts and come to a new conclusion.

But the answer is much simpler than that – they were lying.

According to The Times, BASC now “admits that myths were spread to try to stop a ban, including that it was less likely to ricochet than steel shot and that more people would break teeth on the alternatives.”

Admits myths were spread. That’s a pretty sinister admission and weasel wording designed to try and cover up the fact that for years they have simply lied. And if they were doing that about lead shot, what other untruths about shooting are they peddling?

Why admit this now? Perhaps it because no-one is swallowing these lies anymore. Last year Waitrose pledged to stop selling ‘game’ - what little of it that is sold - that is shot with lead after experts again warned of the dangers of eating meat shot with lead. Whatever the reason, the shooting industry has now been revealed as the liars and obfuscators that they are.

The shooting industry currently under fire for: moorland burning, raptor persecution, snaring, cage rearing, factory farming, releasing non-native species into the countryside, burying and burning shot birds, not to mention the wholesale industrial slaughter of thousands upon millions of birds.

It all begs the question: what other “myths” are they perpetuating? What truths are they hiding? Can anyone trust anything the shooting lobby has to say?