Friday, 7 August 2015

Deer culled by RSPB 'suffered slow deaths'

Birds charity embroiled in row over switch from traditional lead to copper bullets

12:01AM BST 08 Aug 2015

A former RSPB marksman has accused the charity of putting ramblers in danger and causing suffering to deer after switching to new 'environmentally-friendly' bullets.

Colonel Johnny O’Brien, a former armoured regiment commander who was hired by the RSPB as a deer stalker, said the animals suffered slow deaths after the charity instructed him to use copper bullets instead of traditional lead ones.

The charity made the switch in 2010 amid concerns that the traditional bullets fragmented within carcasses and could result in toxic lead entering the human food chain as venison, or poisoning birds.

But Mr O’Brien, who had been culling deer at the RSPB’s Arne reserve in Dorset since 2005, said the copper bullets he used instead failed to kill the deer quickly.

Whereas the lead bullets killed deer within four seconds, and often instantly, Mr O'Brien said that 26 out of 39 deer culled with the copper ammunition during the 2010-11 season survived for at least 10 seconds after being shot, with some running for 40 seconds or more before collapsing.

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