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  Alleged lead poisoning of swans

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Glyn Jones



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PostSubject: Alleged lead poisoning of swans   Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:30 pm

BBC Midlands Today broadcast a news item about swans being poisoned by lead on the River Severn today, which included an interview with Jan Harrigan, who is a well-known campaigner against angling. The piece included reference to lead poisoning from split shot.

The Angling Trust found out about this story third hand at 10pm last night and we immediately sent a statement to the programme informing them that there is no evidence linking alleged lead poisoning of swans with lead shot, which was banned more than 20 years ago. A far more likely culprit is the lead flashing on the bridges on the Severn which has been found in large quantities on the riverbed in this area. The BBC had arranged to speak to a local angler, but he wisely withdrew from the interview this morning. The Angling Trust statement was only partially referred to on the programme.

We have spoken to the programme producers today to express our dismay at the misrepresentation of angling. They have agreed to edit the evening programme to ensure that our statement is included along with a statement from the Environment Agency confirming our position. We offered a spokesman this afternoon, but no BBC cameramen were available to interview us.

The implications of this broadcast are potentially very serious for angling and it is very frustrating that this story has been shown, given that there is no scientific data to back up the claims being made by the anti-angling campaigners. The Angling Trust has made great progress in the past year working closely with the National Swan Convention and the RSPCA to tackle issues of angling litter (line and hooks) affecting swans.

Anyone who wishes to contact the programme to let them know that anglers are not the cause of this alleged problem, and that we are in fact responsible for reporting the vast majority of pollution incidents and carrying out hundreds of thousands of volunteer-hours of environmental improvement work each year, should e-mail midlandstoday@bbc.co.uk

Issues such as this demonstrate the importance of having a strong voice for angling. Please spread the word.
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Richard Crimp
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PostSubject: Re: Alleged lead poisoning of swans   Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:05 pm

E-Mailed them...


Richard
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Richard Crimp
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PostSubject: Re: Alleged lead poisoning of swans   Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:23 pm

The usual response...

"Thank you for your email to BBC Midlands Today. We do appreciate you taking the time to contact us but regret that we cannot answer all emails personally.

However, your email will be read by one of our team who will contact you if they need further information.

Once again, thank you for getting in touch and for your interest in the programme.

Midlands Today
BBC ONE - 52 times a week, 52 weeks a year"
[i]


Richard
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