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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Call for lead fishing weight ban
A swan rescue centre has called for lead fishing weights to be banned after finding a poisoned bird in a West Yorkshire park.

A member of the public spotted the sick bird at Yeadon Tarn Park and contacted Yorkshire Swan Rescue Service.

Volunteers took the bird to a swan rescue hospital near Crayke, York, to undergo treatment for lead poisoning.

The swan had been poisoned after swallowing a discarded fishing weight and was starving to death.

Slow recovery

Spokesman for the service Dan Sidley said lead poisoning attacks the muscles and nervous systems of the birds.

He said some larger lead fishing weights were already banned but called for a blanket ban.

He said: "The swan is slowly improving, but it will be some weeks before he is fit enough for release.

"But this poor swan should never have become poisoned in the first place. Lead weights should be outlawed completely."

Certain sizes of lead fishing weights have been banned in Britain since 1987 but some anglers are still using illegal weights and can be prosecuted if caught.

Others are thought to be using up to 15 pieces of tiny lead weights on their lines instead of alternatives. It is also thougt that swans are being poisioned after picking up weights still in the mud from before the ban.

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