Save eagles from painful and deadly lead poisoning
I’ve been fascinated with eagles, falcons, condors, and other raptors for decades, and I’m increasingly concerned about how lead is unintentionally poisoning and killing them. I’ve spent countless hours photographing these wild birds, and visiting rescue and rehabilitation centers. I need your help on this petition because more must be done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the NRA to protect these amazing wild animals from an agonizing death caused by toxic lead ammunition.
Here’s the big problem facing wildlife right now. Hunters often use lead ammunition because it’s -- well, the "norm." But after a hunter makes his or her shot, there are unintended consequences from the bits of soft lead left scattered throughout different organs in the target animal.
When birds like bald and golden eagles come to pick off what is left after hunters hit their intended targets (for example, deer), they then become poisoned by one of the largest sources of unchecked lead contamination in the United States. Just think of all the steps we have taken to keep you and your kids safe from lead in paint and toys, and ask yourself why lead in bullets and buckshot should be any different.
I want to be very clear. This is not an anti-hunting petition. This is not an anti-gun petition. This is just one issue that I think most people will agree on. I hope we can come together to help these incredible birds. The fact is, I have been to wildlife rehabilitation centers and seen first hand the painful and deadly effects of these lead projectiles, along with the chemical analyses and x-rays which back up the lead source of these horrific problems. Experts already report that 130 species of wildlife are at risk of being poisoned by spent lead ammunition.
Now for the good news and the reason I think this petition will make a difference.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already banned lead ammunition for duck and goose hunting due to concerns that waterways were becoming contaminated and because of secondary poisoning of eagles feeding on lead-poisoned waterfowl. There are requirements for use of non-lead ammunition for hunting in various state parks and federal wildlife refuges, too. Reports indicate that the majority of U.S. states already have partial or local restrictions on the use of lead ammunition based on species or season. California is on the verge of banning lead ammunition for all hunting nationwide. All that’s left is their Governor’s signature. With a state like California signing on specifically because of the health and animal welfare concerns, it’s the right time to ask other powerful stakeholders to step up to protect these magnificent birds. Alternative ammunition is already widely available.
Please sign to ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NRA to come together as allies with the American people who want to put wildlife welfare and preservation, environmental sustainability, and public safety above any need for lead-based bullets and buckshot.
Photo copyright Larry Allan 2013. All rights reserved.
- Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Daniel M. Ashe
- Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Rowan W. Gould
- Deputy Director for Policy
Stephen D. Guertin
- Chief, USFWS Division of Congressional and Legislative Affairs
- National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action
Chris W. Cox
- Executive Vice President NRA
Please get toxic lead out of hunting ammunition. It’s killing some of the most iconic and incredible wild birds in America.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service outlawed the use of lead shot for duck and goose hunting in 1991 because of evidence that the heavy metal was contaminating waterways and the food chain. Lead ammo has also been banned for use at many national wildlife refuges and some state parks. Thirty-five states regulate the use of lead ammunition on specific species or seasons. California is on the verge of banning lead ammunition. All that’s left is the Governor’s signature. With a state like California signing on specifically because of the health and animal welfare concerns, it’s the right time to ask other powerful stakeholders to step up to protect these magnificent birds.
USFWS, please do the right thing.
We seek the NRA as an ally in the movement to see this change take place. You are a powerful bridge between the public and the Washington insiders, and we hope you listen to people who wish you to help, including the very bird on your emblem.
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