- WILDLIFE AND
Hunters and recreational shooters using traditional ammunition consisting of lead components are being demonized as part of environmental activists’ campaign to ban the use of lead ammunition and to restrict or eliminate hunting and recreational shooting entirely. Across the U.S., anti-lead ammunition and anti-hunting groups have lobbied legislators and regulators to ban the use of traditional ammunition claiming that wildlife consume lead ammunition in carrion from lost game, or gutpiles left in the field by hunters. Activists claim that the science is settled regarding the nexus between lead ammunition and lead poisoning in wildlife.
The crux of the allegedly settled science against traditional ammunition rests on the misplaced assertion that hunters’ lead ammunition causes elevated lead exposure and poisoning in scavenging wildlife. Activists claim that wildlife, such as the California condor, ingest lead fragments from hunters’ spent ammunition remaining in discarded gutpiles or carrion of wounded and lost game.
While anti-hunting activists have sometimes been successful in selling their argument to some members of legislatures, regulatory agencies and the general public, there is substantial evidence that the assault on traditional ammunition is based on “faulty science,” because researchers have used questionable scientific methodology, sampling protocols and data to reach their conclusions.
Activists have employed junk science as a propaganda tool to support their claims, while routinely ignoring alternative sources of lead in the environment. Scientific papers published by researchers that use questionable sample sizes (statistically invalid) and”cherry picked” data believed to incriminate lead ammunition, or that delete unfavorable original data that contradicts their assertions that lead ammunition is poisoning wildlife, are routinely referred to by activists as the settled science justifying the banning of traditional ammunition. Key studies that allege to link lead ammunition to lead poisoning in wildlife have been widely criticized by the academic community, while some researchers have even been embroiled in lawsuits for withholding original data that suggests results contrary to their published conclusions.
As activist researchers twist and manipulate the scientific process in an effort to incriminate lead ammunition as the primary source of lead poisoning in hunting areas, they unconscionably and inexplicably ignore the fact that ammunition represents only 2-3% of lead usage and that alternative sources of lead are widely available in the environment and contribute to lead poisoning in the California condor and other wildlife.
Lead-based paint, gasoline, pesticides, mine tailings and microtrash such as galvanized screws, nuts, bolts and washers have all been shown to be available to condors, while microtrash has been found in their digestive tract and the digestive tracts of their chicks. However, lead ban proponents routinely overlook such alternative sources of lead in the environment.
The failure of California’s lead ammunition ban, Assembly Bill (AB) 821, to decrease lead poisoning in the “Condor Zone,” conclusively proves that alternative sources of lead poisoning cannot be ignored. In 2007, proponents of AB 821 claimed that condors were being poisoned by lead ammunition. They promised that if hunters stopped using lead ammunition, the lead poisoning would stop. Since the passage of AB 821, however, a comparison of pre-ban and post-ban blood-lead data indicates that, contrary to activists’ claims, the incidence of lead exposure and toxicity in condors remains static, and actually increased slightly, compounding the problem and leaving multiple condors dead.
The failure of California’s lead ammunition ban to successfully combat lead poisoning strongly indicates that alternative sources of lead, other than hunters’ ammunition is the real cause of lead exposure and toxicity in condors and other wildlife.
Since 2003, The National Rifle Association (NRA), the California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation (CRPAF) and other hunting and shooting industry organizations have raised serious questions about the science and the purported nexus between traditional ammunition and lead poisoning and mortality in California condors and other wildlife. Hunt for Truth has investigated and uncovered substantial evidence that the extremist environmental groups behind the assault on traditional ammunition have based their efforts on “faulty science,” as a result of researchers using questionable scientific methodologies, sampling protocols and data to advance their anti-lead ammunition agenda.
In response to the threat posed to hunting and recreational shooting sports, the NRA and CRPAF have engaged the expertise of environmental and civil rights attorneys, along with reputable scientists, experts, consultants and volunteers to defend lead ammunition and our traditional hunting heritage. These professionals are engaged in a long and arduous process of investigating, procuring and analyzing well over one hundred thousand of documents from public records requests concerning the California condor, Bald and Golden eagles, Mourning dove and other wildlife. Most importantly, the documents include researchers’ “original data” and internal documents not previously obtained or reviewed by independent analysts or the public at large.
The NRA, CRPAF, and other like-minded wildlife and natural resource conservation groups continue to monitor and review various regulatory threats to hunting and shooting sports. Where the science unquestionably supports wise conservation management decisions, Hunt for Truth supports wildlife managers in their efforts to conserve our natural wildlife resources. But when the anti-lead ammunition movement offers politically biased, distorted, unsupportable information and/or “faulty science” to impose regulations that do not implement sound wildlife conservation, Hunt for Truth will continue to work tirelessly to expose their agenda and disseminate The Truth. Frequently check the Expose section for investigative reporting on the misuse of science, the biased information disseminated by NGO’s, researchers, individuals and regulators, and the real truth in the debate on lead ammunition.
Learn More about the Threats to Traditional Ammunition:
1. Faulty Science: Anti-hunting activists have employed junk science as a propaganda tool to support their claim that traditional ammunition has lead to elevated lead exposure in scavenging animals. They routinely ignore alternative sources of lead in the environment, use questionable sample sizes, cherry pick data to support their preconceived conclusions, and simultaneously hide and even deleting unfavorable data.
2. State Regulations Banning the use of Traditional Ammunition: Hunting has been attacked as part of a campaign to ban the use of traditional ammunition. Across the country anti-hunting groups have fueled an effort that has swept all the way to some state legislatures. Using the California condor as a means to advance their campaign, those attempting to impede hunters’ rights through the prohibition of lead ammunition have misled the public and legislative representatives into supporting lead ban measures by publicizing faulty scientific claims.
3. Litigation: Anti-hunting groups have entangled the judicial system in a series of legal battles related to the lead ammunition issue.