On September 3rd, the European Union’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemical (REACH) Committee authorized troubling regulations that prohibit the use and possession of lead ammunition of any kind, in or within 100 meters (110 yards) of a designated wetland.
Safari Club has worked closely with the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) to oppose the REACH Committee’s action and according to Torbjörn Larsson, the President of FACE, “there was an overwhelmingly clear reaction from all FACE members, representing Europe’s 7 million hunters, expressing their dissatisfaction about the decision of the REACH Committee.”
Throughout the entirety of the regulatory process, FACE has affirmed the European Hunting Community’s agreeable commitment to begin phasing out the use of lead shot over wetlands as aligned with FACE’s revised position on the use of lead ammunition. However, FACE and SCI have also noted with great concern that the REACH Committee has failed to respect the fundamental legal rights of hunters across Europe for several reasons – most chiefly the fact that the presumption of innocence, a fundamental right in the European Union, is not respected under the most recent ruling on lead shot. Enforcement of such a ban will also potentially put both those enforcing the law and hunters in precarious situations due to vague wording related to the definition of wetlands, the size of buffer zones, and the possession of lead shot.
Members of Safari Club’s European chapters and Europe Committee engaged their respective legislators and policymakers encouraging each EU member state to oppose the REACH Committee’s proposal. Ultimately, the Committee chose to ignore FACE and Safari Club’s well-founded concerns.
FACE has since urged the Legal Service of the European Parliament and the Council to issue a legal opinion challenging the proposal. FACE and Safari Club are concurrently calling on members of the European Parliament and the EU council to reject the proposal on the grounds it is illegal, unenforceable, and in dire need of reconsideration.
SCI will continue to work with FACE and the European Hunting community to ensure that poorly developed and marginally enforceable policy based on arbitrary metrics do not negatively impact law-abiding hunters.