Lead ammunition is posing a real threat to wildlife, as well as humans.
Assembly Bill 711, which was passed by the California State Senate, would phase out lead ammunition in an effort to protect California’s wildlife.
In an action alert from the ASPCA, the organization says, “Many birds ingest left behind shot fragments while eating and die slow, agonizing deaths. Their carcasses, laced with the toxic substance, can cause coyotes, eagles, bears and other wildlife to suffer secondary poisoning. Lead poisoning produces a variety of symptoms in victims, including paralyzed limbs and digestive systems, brain swelling, organ failure and permanent cell damage.”
The national death toll of wild animals may be in the tens of millions. Some researchers estimate that more than 10 million mourning doves – just one species – die from lead poisoning every year. Lead ammunition is also a threat to human safety. A study conducted by the North Dakota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “shows a link between eating wild game shot with lead bullets and higher blood lead levels.”
A.B. 711 now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.
Ellen Degeneres announced her support of the bill yesterday on Twitter by writing, ”Hi @JerryBrownGov. If you love animals, please sign legislation AB711 to ban lead ammunition. Your favorite constituent, Ellen.”
Ellen doesn’t have to be alone. You can also make your voice heard by signing this petition put together by The Humane Society of the United States.
There is already a nationwide requirement for the use of non-lead shot when hunting ducks, which was enacted in 1991 under President George H.W. Bush.
Several years ago, California adopted a non-lead ammunition requirement for hunting in the habitat of the critically endangered condor, after lead poisoning was identified as the greatest threat to the survival of the bird population.