Americas, USA

American Birds are Being Lead-Poisoned

Lead is one of the most commonly found elements in the crust of planet Earth, and it has been mined and used for thousands of years in many industrial and commercial products. The Greeks mined it for hundreds of years, and they knew how to convert it into white lead as well. It has been used as the basis for paints and covering products for centuries due to its amazing properties.

Lead Poisoning

At one stage in history, lead mining declined, but it reappeared with new uses such as pottery and cooking glazes, printing and bullets manufacturing. Lead is heavily utilized in the ammunition industry today, which products are used to hunt birds, small mammals, as well as in some fishing tackles. Many wild birds such as bald eagles, hawks, owls, mourning doves and loons can die by swallowing small pieces of it in the form of sinker or bullet fragment. Lead, therefore, is a severe threat to wildlife, especially birds, on top of so many other things.

According to a recent study of loons, nearly half of the birds were found sick or dead during the breeding season in New England. It confirmed that these birds were the victims of lead poisoning caused by ingestion of fragments used in fishing weights.

The main problem is that eagles, hawks, owls and many other wild birds do eat flesh from carcasses of hunted animals such as deer, squirrels, and woodchucks. They swallow bits of lead along with flesh pieces. As these tiny parts go into their stomachs, lead suddenly enters into their bloodstream causing blindness, paralysis, lack of appetite and neurological problems leading the animals to fly into window panes of buildings and vehicles, which eventually cause the death of these birds.

Ed Clark, president of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, says they treat 35 to 40 eagles per year and find about 60 percent of them have lead in their blood. “Many hunters don’t realize that as much as 50 percent of a bullet may remain in the deer as fragments and a sliver the size of a grain of rice is enough to kill a bald eagle in 72 hours.” He added, “The main point of consideration is that all this was happening during the ban of lead ammunition.”

Lead Ammunition Ban and the Uplift

Interior Secretary of United States of America, Ryan Zinke, who was a first term Montana congressman and former Navy SEAL, signed an order on his first day in office lifting up a ban on using lead ammunition in wildlife refuges.

It is important to keep in mind that this policy was implemented by a former Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe on January 19th, 2017, on the last day of Obama’s administration in office. Dan’s policy imposed a ban on using lead ammunition and fishing tackles at every place that was regulated by the agency. This policy was made to protect wild life birds and animals from falling victim to lead poisoning which is killing the birds at a fast pace.

This move of Dan Ashe caused the National Rifle Association (NRA) to criticized him sharply and calling it “Obama’s last assault on gun owners and sportsmen rights.”

While Zinke’s orders stated that “After reviewing the order and the process by which it was promulgated, I have determined that the order is not mandated by any existing statutory or regulatory requirement and was issued without significant communication, consultation or coordination with affected stakeholders,” He also urged agencies to find a way to give people access to outdoor activities for more fun and entertainment.

What’s the Point?

Zinke has already clarified his point of view on hunting and fishing in a statement. “It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite.”

So, what does it all mean after all? His statement says that he is uplifting this ban because he does not want hunting and fishing to become an elite-class activity and wants the poorer people to use lead ammo for recreation and enjoyment.

This clarification also seems very odd because there are many alternatives for lead ammunition which are already available for graceful and danger free hunting, fishing and shooting activities.

Why does Zinke want lead ammunition to be on the market? It may be pressure from the National Rifle Association or the Ammunition Industry, wanting to keep things going with lead bullets and fishing weights.

The need of the hour is to protect these precious birds, which are dying at a fast pace. If Ryan Zinke keeps this ban uplifted, it is feared that thousands of birds will fall victim to this lead poisoning, eventually leading to the endangerment or extinction of these birds shortly.

About Peter Mossack

Peter is the CEO of Kinstream Media, and he manages the editorial board and day-to-day operations as the publisher of CrowdH. He’s a tech and news junkie, and an avid social media analyst who’s always on the lookout for new stories to cover. He has been an entrepreneur for the past 20 years and he’s now dedicated to change the news, and the world!

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