The National Convention
for the Welfare of Swans and Wildlife
In 1992/3 the National Convention for the Welfare of Swans and Wildlife was formed. This brought together a high proportion of the Swan rescue groups in the country to discuss regional problems and to debate how they could best be tackled.
Today the Convention continues to concentrate on lead poisoning issues and fishing tackle related swan injuries. The convention meets regularly and publishes a quarterly (ish) newsletter for its members and supporters.
We intend to publish the National Swan Convention Newsletters here, and we are starting with the August 2009 issue, as it contains information that could be seriously affecting animal welfare nationally.
Click the link below (issues 24 & 25) to read our opinions of the RSPCA…
Many Research and Development (R&D) projects have been undertaken which have established root problems that lead to suffering and in many cases fatality of the swan.
One such project is described here:
The Impact of Lost and Discarded Fishing Line
and Tackle on Mute Swans
Swan Rescue South Wales took the lead in setting up a steering committee to co-ordinate activities, the most important of which is the collation of swan rescue data from as many groups as possible. The analysis resulting from this showed the extent of the impact angling is having on wildlife.
This prompted the Environment Agency to commission a major Research and Development project involving both the Edward Grey Institute in Oxford and the Swan Convention. Most worryingly, the data shows swans in the Midlands (Worcester, Stratford, Evesham etc.) are carrying quite high blood lead levels. There is a suspicion the same may be true for the area to the west of London, and so more work is planned to investigate further.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s lead poisoning in Mute Swans caused by ingesting lead fishing weights was identified as a major problem. As a result, a two year voluntary ban was introduced. This was not received at all well by anglers and tackle shops alike, but eventually, after much criticism and disagreement, suitable substitutes were developed and put on the market.
The development of substitute lead weights resulted in a complete ban on all but the smallest sizes in 1987. The incidents of lead poisoning in Mute Swans fell considerably.
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