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It’s Time to End Wildlife Poisoning from Lead Hunting Ammunition

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Millions of birds and other animals die from lead hunting ammunition each year — not from being shot but from eating fragments of ammunition left behind by hunters. It’s a wildlife epidemic that’s entirely preventable. That’s why on Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity pulled together more than 140 other groups to petition the Environmental Protection Agency to finally get the lead out of hunting ammunition in favor of readily available, nontoxic alternatives.

“The unnecessary poisoning of eagles, condors and other wildlife is a national tragedy that the EPA can easily put an end to,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are safe, available alternatives to lead ammo for all hunting and shooting sports, so there’s no reason for this poisoning to go on. Getting the lead out for wildlife is in line with traditional American conservation, hunting and fishing values.”

Each year, 3,000 tons of lead are shot into the environment by hunters because the EPA has refused to regulate toxic lead hunting ammunition. That lead poisons bald eagles, severely endangered condors and majestic trumpeter swans, which die painful deaths. Hunting with lead ammo also risks the health of humans (especially children) when they ingest tiny lead fragments in shot game.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are many commercially available alternatives to lead rifle bullets and shotgun pellets. More than a dozen manufacturers market hundreds of varieties and calibers of nonlead bullets and shot made of steel, copper and alloys of other metals, with satisfactory to superior ballistics. Nonlead bullets are readily available in all 50 states. Hunters in states and areas that already have lead restrictions or have banned lead have made successful transitions to hunting with nontoxic bullets.

“We wisely removed lead from gasoline and paint because of the dangers of lead poisoning, and now it’s time to do the same for hunting ammunition. Future generations will thank us,” Miller said.

There is simply no excuse to use toxic lead for hunting. Please sign the group’s petition today, and share it with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information, read about the Center’s Get the Lead Out campaign. Photos and videos are also available here.

Find out more about the dangers of lead >>

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Trumpeter Swan photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Paruula

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82 comments

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12:23PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

Signed!

8:50PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

Most military aren't shooting their ammo into streams, where waterfowl might ingest it- and aren't shooting animals, then leaving the lead contaminated gut piles out where condors will eat it- so the idea that we would need to provide lead free bullets to our military is not valid.

8:43PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

I just looked up the cost of lead-free ammunition. Rifle rounds cost over $1 per round (a round is the bullet projectile + explosive powder charge + cartridge case + primer).

Such a ban would have to include the U.S. military, as they fire more rounds in training each year than all sports shooters put together.

Can we afford to provide lead-free ammunition to our armed forces? Not in today's economy.

8:30PM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

I expect there's a lot more lead poisoning caused by the lead in fishing weights.

Think about it - the birds listed feed on fish that have swallowed lead fishing accessories or the birds see a sparkling lure in a stream and swallow it - complete with lead weights attached.

Steel bullets wrapped with a soft metal jacket (for handguns or rifles) would probably be an option for shooters, though I doubt the police would like civilians having them, as steel would not deform on contact with body armour.

I believe steel shot loaded cartridges are already available for shotguns and frankly I think they should be standard, as even when shooting clay, the shot would be scattered all over a wide area of the environment.

It could be optional for target shooters, as the sand or earth filled backstops behind the targets already contain the lead where it can be recycled.

10:18PM PDT on May 21, 2012

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. ---St. Francis of Assisi

1:28PM PDT on May 12, 2012

Signed and shared

9:27AM PDT on May 12, 2012

Signed!

11:33AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

I hope these people ROT in the hell for they created by their own hands!!!

7:31PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

So humans have shown they can destroy nearly every species on Earth (including our own). What more do some people need to "prove their superiority over" animals who cannot compete against the reckless use of technology? The dangers of lead have been well known for decades, banning it from polluting the environment and wildlife is a no-brainer!

8:29PM PDT on Apr 14, 2012

Georgia: EPA = Environmental Protection Agency

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