Scientific supervision of technical dialogues in the project

The discourse analysis is a qualitative research approach, especially used in social and linguistic sciences. Most of all in the area of ecopolitical environmental issues and conflicts, the its further development highly depends on the learning process of the participants. Therefore this approach provides a way to describe the different views of the issue.

The main research interests of the project deal with:

  • tracing the lines of conflict between the stakeholders
  • the supervision of the discourses
  • the revealing of changes within the discourse

The investigation concentrates on the shift of the parting line between chains of argument as well as the possible emergences of new arguments. In doing so impact is put on discourse in action.
The discourse analysis is applied to the technical discussions and focused on the stakeholders like representatives of hunters, of environmental associations, of ammunition manufacturers and purchasers, of forest owners and public authorities.

The discourse analysis is an important part of the results:

  1. for the scientific documentation within the research project,
  2. for the participants main points of view regarding causes of lead poisoning and possible actions
In this way the discourse analysis also supports the technical dialogue which is being offered by the project as an information platform and room for compromises.

Area of Discourse

  • Object of Study
    causes of lead poisoning in birds of prey

  • Sources
    records and logs about statements from social and governmental stakeholders
  • Discourse Lines of Argument
    • Hunters
      Keywords: role/responsibility - communication - consideration of sensibilities
    • Hunting Behavior
      Keywords: handling of gut piles - dealing with (legal) constraints
    • Lead-free Ammunition
      Keywords: killing performance - toxicity - requirements - supply and demand - price
    • Law/Politics
      Keywords: sanctions - revision of game law - prohibition of leaded ammunition - control - international conventions / EU-conventions
    • Information/Communication: Transfer of knowledge
    • Biodiversity
      Keywords: animal protection - species conservation - ethical hunting - international conventions
    • Science
      Keywords: cause study and communication - manifestation of the former results about the causes of death in birds of prey - to ensure killing in accordance with animal welfare on the basis of lead-free ammunition
    • Ecotoxicological Risks
      Keywords: threat to necrophagous bird species - exposure to forest soil
    • Threat to Consumer
      Keywords: leaden residue in games

For the discourse line of argument 'lead-free ammunition' exemplary results shall be presented.

Environmental Associations

Problem Perspective:
The environmental associations evaluate the posited demands of lead-free ammunition as extremely high. After all the guidelines professed by the hunters and the discussion about the (supposedly) higher prices are pleaded arguments to avoid acting. Since lead-free ammunition is capable of killing in accordance with animal welfare as well as leaded ammunition, they demand a prohibition of any expanding bullets.

Possible Solutions:
Since the ammunition manufacturer doesn't provide any support, such as stimulating the demand, the responsibility lies with hunters and governmental protagonists.

Hunting Unions

Problem Perspective:
The representatives of hunters are asking for convincing evidences regarding innocuousness of lead-free ammunition. More trials are demanded because the alternatives need to last a long time. Another point of criticism is the high price for alternative ammunition. They disagree with a prohibition of leaded ammunition because it isn't possible to ensure supervision. Nevertheless the abandonment of the usage of lead seems to be unavoidable.

Possible Solutions:
On the one hand the ammunition manufacturers need to encourage the demand, on the other hand the hunters should get prepared to the new situation. Offers like test firing with new ammunition may be promotive.

Ecological Hunting Union

Problem Perspective:
The Ecological Hunting Union (ÖJV) shares the view of the environmental associations. The argumentations of hunting unions and ammunition manufacturers seems to them to be rather self-serving declarations and fictitious debates to delay acting. From ÖJV's point of view the behavior of especially the hunting unions is reactionary. Neither hunters nor ammunition manufacturers are willing to accept responsibility.

Possible Solutions:
The principle of product liability could prompt the ammunition manufacturers to act more quickly. Likewise they encourage to combine the terms of lease of state forests with a regulation for lead-free hunting. Due to the reluctance of hunters and ammunition manufacturers to act adequate, a prohibition won't be avoidable.

Animal Rights Activists

Problem Perspective:
The attitude of animal rights activists towards a possible prohibition of leaded ammunition is individual and different. Some plead for issuance of a prohibition now, for others the time is has not yet come. The representatives lament over a lack of informations especially about different data of poisoning numbers in the affected states as well as the consequences to hunting methods.

Possible Solutions:
They pleads for making the hunters familiar with alternative ammunition, after a analysis of field tests.

Ammunition Manufacturer

Problem Perspective:
The representatives of ammunition manufacturers are against a prohibition of expanding bullets. The judgement of the environmental associations is too flat. Lead is still the ballistic optimum. Expanding bullets do not correspond in animal welfare. A decreased killing performance in favour of lower toxicity is not acceptable. New products do not currently pay off for ammunition manufacturers or trading.

Possible Solutions:
One expects a progress of the scientific investigation analysis of characteristic and effect of alternative ammunition, which should result in new impulses for the production.

Governmental Participants

Please note: This is not an official statement of the governmental agency, but a valuation of the knowledge and discussion level.

Problem Perspective:
A prohibition of leaded ammunition does not suffice. The specifications of alternative ammunition were are deliberately estimated very high. Lead-free ammunition needs to be toxicological harmless for environment, animal and human being, but also must ensure optimal killing performance.

Possible Solutions:
The sales policy needs improvement. The demand for lead-free ammunition has to be promoted and generated respectively by a bunch of measures. Positive ways should be pointed out within the communication with hunters in order to reduce distrust.