For years, animal advocates and environmental activists in California have been campaigning to ban the use of lead bullets, which pose significant health threats to both humans and animals, and their hard work has finally paid off.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 711, which will require hunters to use non-lead ammunition. The Fish and Game Commission will be required to create regulations to certify that hunters follow this mandate if they plan to hunt for wildlife.
A huge thank you to Care2 members who signed petitions urging the California legislature to end this harmful practice.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Rise and other agencies have been working to end the use of toxic lead bullets that threaten the California Condor and Bald Eagle populations, as well as humans who eat wild game. In opposition, the National Rifle Association had launched a “Hunt for Truth” campaign urging the continued use of lead bullets, incorrectly claiming that lead poses no threats to wildlife, despite ample scientific research proving otherwise. The NRA’s campaign was quickly pulled from the internet soon after it surfaced in August.
Lead bullet fragments that remain in animal carcasses threaten about 130 other species since animals, like the Bald Eagle, that come into contact with hunted remains are poisoned in the process. The endangered California Condor has also suffered greatly because of these bullets. While breeding efforts have upped the population, numbers remain much lower than they would be if lead bullets had been banned sooner. In Arizona, roughly 95 percent of the condor population has been lead-poisoned.
Manufacturers already produce many affordable and safer bullets to help make the transition easy for hunters. In fact, thousands of hunters already use lead-free ammo, a practice that must phased in by 2019 under AB 711.
The passage of this law is a tremendous victory for agencies who have been working tirelessly for this cause. The regulation of non-lead ammo will protect our environment, hunters and the endangered species that have been needlessly killed by toxic bullets.
Photo Credit: Sleipneir