Timm Herdt: Condors caught in NRA crossfire
#1 Aug 21, 2013
Animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the US, Audubon California, Center for Biological Diversity, and Action For Animals are running a campaign aimed at the banning of lead ammunition for all hunting in California. One way they are trying to accomplish this is by sponsoring AB 711, which calls for a state-wide ban on most kinds of hunting ammunition available to the public. The same groups may try to expand the ban to your state. These groups claim that scavenging animals, such as the California condor, ingest and are poisoned by pieces of metallic lead bullets present in gut piles of harvested game left in the field by hunters. They rely on certain scientific papers that allegedly support these claims, and often use the poisoning of the California condor to justify their anti-lead ammunition agenda.
But there are serious scientific questions about the validity of their claims. The failure of the hastily-enacted California lead ammunition ban legislation of 2007 (AB 821) suggests that these groups are wrong. AB 821 banned the use of lead ammunition in the “condor zone” region of California. It was strong-armed through the legislature, bypassing the usual path involving the more scientifically inclined California Fish & Game Commission, based on the promise that the ban would lower the condors’ elevated blood-lead levels, and solve the lead poisoning problem. But AB 821 has not resulted in lower blood-lead levels or otherwise reduced lead poisoning in condors. Despite the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s acknowledgment that 99% of hunters are complying with the lead ban in the “condor zone” since the law took effect, condors’ blood-lead levels, poisoning and mortality have increased since 2007!
There are obviously other sources of lead in the environment. These alternative sources are likely an industrial lead compound (e.g leaded gasoline, paint or pesticides), which is far more soluble and bioavailable to condors. We have identified some of those potential alternative sources, and we encourage you to join the hunt for the truth with us and learn the real facts! To learn all the facts in the lead ammunition debate, visit www.huntfortruth.org .
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