To assist policymakers and to educate the public, hunting and recreational shooting organizations have launched a website to make the facts and science of the lead ammunition debate available. Policymakers and hunters are urged to register at the Hunt for Truth website and to subscribe to the Hunt for Truth email list to receive e-bulletins with the latest breaking news and information on the lead ammunition issue. www.huntfortruth.org
Self-proclaimed environmental organizations are trying to prohibit the use of traditional ammunition consisting of lead core components in hunting and recreational shooting. They claim that some scavenging animals, like the California Condor, ingest and are poisoned by small pieces of lead contained in the carcasses of game and gut piles left in the field by hunters.
But there is substantial evidence that the groups attacking the use of lead ammunition have employed faulty science, used questionable scientific methodologies, and selectively cherry picked data to support their campaign against traditional ammunition. In fact, some researchers – who have published studies funded with taxpayer dollars that have anti-lead pre-conceived conclusions – are actually thwarting attempts by third parties to independently review their work. They refuse to make the original data on which their studies were based available.
The truth is that lead ammunition is an unlikely cause of the alleged poisoning, because the metallic lead used in bullets and shot is relatively insoluble in the digestive tract of birds of prey and scavengers. Scientific studies have confirmed that it is very difficult to poison some birds with lead, even by repeatedly feeding them lead shot mixed with food over time.
On the other hand, lead compounds found in legacy paint, insecticides, leaded gasoline and mine tailings are quite soluble in the digestive tract and are responsible for many of the highly publicized lead poisonings attributed to lead ammunition. These lead compounds are common in the environment, and should be investigated first in cases of lead poisoning of wildlife. The anti-lead researchers, however, typically ignore “alternative sources” of lead in the environmental because the existence of such sources undermines the anti-lead ammunition and anti-hunting agenda.
Advocates of lead ammunition bans also routinely ignore the fact that alternative metals proposed for use in ammunition can cause serious environmental consequences of their own. Alternative ammunition containing bismuth, tungsten or copper coated steel all present various environmental concerns. Bismuth leaches into the soil and groundwater and interferes with soil bacteria. Tungsten, which is transformed to a soluble form by oxygen, accumulates in the spleen of wildlife and can cause immune system disorders. Even copper is toxic under certain circumstances, and can do far more environmental damage than lead. Steel shot does not perform as well as lead on game, leading to higher numbers of crippled game that escapes and is not recovered. Traditional ammunition containing lead is still the best, and safest, alternative.
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