(photo: The Bald Eagle is too often the victim of lead poisoning as it preys upon game which has been shot with lead.)
If you have been following our blogs you may realize the huge impact lead shot and lead sinkers are having on birds. We all know about the dangers of lead in humans, that is why it has been virtually eliminated from our lives. Lead has equally dangerous effects on birds and wildlife. Many of our patients come in poisoned with lead and in desperate need on chelation treatments to cleanse it from their bodies. A great article to read to learn more about why and how this happens is Get the Lead Out.
It is easy to feel helpless about what is happening in the world at large. We all know that we need to make personal changes and stop using lead in our hunting and fishing practices ourselves. Here at REGI we just got wind of something more that we can do and you can as well!
The US Department of Interior and the USEPA have started discussions on creating rules to ban the use of lead tackle and shot. I urge you to join our letter writing campaign and urge officials to make our environment safe for our feathered friends. We have heard that hunting and fishing lobbies have scheduled a meeting with Ken Salazar on January 26th to discuss their opposition to a ban on lead hunting and fishing products, so time is of the essence. It is important that you write a letter in support of a ban on lead IMMEDIATELY! It is best if these letters are not form letters but personalized letters. National Park Service is the agency that is closest to taking action, so letters sent to Mr. Salazar should focus on NPS actions to limit the use of Pb in national park lands. We recommend that letters to the president ask for attention and action by the EPA, since this is the agency that regulates the introduction of toxics into the environment. It's time for ALL conservationists (whether our interests are consumptive or non-consumptive) to step up to the plate and work towards the elimination of a toxic material into the environment.
You may find these talking points useful:
Lead in almost every other aspect of our life has been removed from paint to fuel for our automobiles. The use in sports such as hunting and fishing is a last hold out even though solid scientific studies show the effect on human health as well as wildlife.
- There is a lot of good scientific evidence that shows the significant acute and chronic effects of lead on humans, domestic animals and wildlife.
- There are lots of NON-lead options for alternatives to lead hunting and fishing equipment and they are not prohibitively expensive.
- Hunters and anglers have always been thought of as active conservationists and there is an important role for them in making this change -- to protect health, to protect the environment and to protect the resources that we all cherish.
Please write a letter to your local representatives as well as our president and the head of the department of interior.
Barack Obama, President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Ken Salazar, Secretary
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240