A hot button issue right now with certain lobbyists is the attempt to ban the use of lead in all fishing tackle and hunting ammunition. What it all boils down to is this.....
Anti fishing and anti hunting groups want to ban the use of lead in fishing tackle and hunting ammunition. Specifically, they want to ban lead use in the manufacture of bullets and fishing sinkers, based on a very small percentage of possible harm to different species of birds and animals. Currently there is no credible scientific evidence to support this claim.
The chances of lead in bullets and fishing tackle actually harming our wildlife are extremely slim. The petitioners of this ban must prove that using lead products is having a significant negative impact on our birds and animals. So far there is no concrete proof. Yes, lead products can pose a potential hazard to individual birds and animals, but so far, that hazard is nominal at best. To date there is no proven negative impact on Condors, bald eagles or anything else for that matter.
I think there are other options available - Hunters and fisherman can choose to use non-lead products in some cases. However, there isn't always that option as some types of lead free ammunition are simply not available for certain weapons. But, hunters personally can make a more concentrated effort to work with our environment by
- burying or removing the gut from the animals they shoot instead of leaving them in the field for birds to scavenge.
- Make every shot count so wounded animals do not crawl off and die without recovery.
- Use non-lead ammo if possible for target practice.
Funding for our conservation and wildlife management largely comes through the excise taxes paid on the purchases of ammunition. However, if lead is indeed banned in the manufacture of these products, it will result in much higher prices being passed on to the consumer. It is therefore highly possible that the purchase of ammunition and tackle will decrease, which will in turn directly affect the funding for our conservation and wildlife management. I personally think that a decrease in funding will directly affect a larger group of birds and animals as a whole, rather than to the nominal amount that may be affected by the continued use of lead products.
Jeff Thurston at Bernard and Assoc. kindly forwarded the following Lead Ban report to me. Please take a moment to read it and formulate your own opinions on this lead/no lead topic. All opinions in the above post are my own and I am placing them here to open some discussion, pro or con, on the issue.
Anti-hunting and anti-fishing interests are currently litigating against the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to force the EPA to expand its Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) authority in order to regulate traditional ammunition and recreational fishing tackle.
When the Act was established in 1976 Congress explicitly excluded from regulation any article subject to excise taxes -- including pistols, revolvers, firearms, shells and cartridges.
The EPA has already once declined a petition that asked the agency to prohibit the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of lead for shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers because it did not have the authority to do so under the TSCA.
Anti-hunting and anti-fishing interests assert the EPA does have the authority and that a lead ban is necessary to address the significant impacts to wildlife populations that are resulting from traditional tackle and ammunition.
The assertions made by the petitioning groups lack credible scientific foundation, especially when seeking a blanket ban on all lead use. Outside of the California condor, where every death is significant, there is no evidence of a lead crisis at the population level – an entire group of one species living in a specific area.
The biggest threat of lead in wildlife is with birds that have gizzards, which hold on to and grind up food, rather than pass it quickly through their systems.
Proponents of the ban cite the impacts on individual raptors, such as Bald Eagles even though raptor populations are increasing across North America and the Bald Eagle was removed from the Endangered Species list as recently as 2007.
If a complete ban on lead in ammunition where achieved it would have a dramatic negative impact, because of the increased cost of alternative metals, on the cost of ammunition, and therefore participation in hunting and recreational shooting, which in turn is the engine that drives most of the funding for conservation and wildlife management through the excise taxes paid on the purchases of ammunition.
Sportsmen groups have rallied to push forward the introduction of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S.838 & H.R. 1558), which will amend TSCA in a manner that serves to protect and enhance our hunting, recreational shooting and recreational fishing heritage while concurrently facilitating the important benefits that the hunting, shooting and recreational fishing industries contribute to the betterment of our nation’s economy and treasured natural resources.
The Act is now being discussed and considered in committees. To learn more:
Please feel free to offer your opinions or suggestions in the comments area.