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PO Box 32021, Santa Fe, NM 87594-2021          505-699-0455   

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  • Lead shot was banned ONLY in the hunting of waterfowl in the 1990’s.
  • According to the World Health Organization there is NO known level of lead to be without harmful effects.
  • Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems.
  • Raptors acquire lead poisoning by eating from the carcass or gut pile of a dead animal killed using lead shot. In the case of Osprey and Bald Eagles, the lead poisoning can come from lead sinkers in consumed fish.
  • Let us examine a lead bullet. Take a 180 lead shot bullet. Upon impact there are fragments scattered throughout the body of the animal. In this scenario, approximately half of the lead fragments remain in the body, even with an exit wound.
  • All ammunition manufacturers are making non-lead bullets. When you have thousands of dollars invested in hunting equipment and clothing, what is a few dollars more for a box of non-lethal copper bullets?
  • Only 2%-3% of lead ammunition that is manufactured is used by hunters, which should make this issue 100% preventable. 97%-98% of lead ammo is used by the military and law enforcement.
  • Our majestic, much adored,  national symbol, the Bald Eagle, should live up to 30 years in the wild. This is a known fact in protected areas where hunting is illegal.
  • Ed Clark, President of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, and a spokesman against lead bullets for more than 20 years, asks the poignant question: “What is a Bald Eagle worth?” Mr. Clark has spent decades looking at the worth of wild animals. It is illegal to shoot a Bald Eagle, and you would pay $10,000 if caught. There is no penalty for leaving a carcass containing lead shot. If eaten by an Eagle, he will die a brutal death from lead poisoning.
  • A majority of hunters and fishermen are also concerned about the conservation of nature’s bounty and beauty.  All it takes is education about the devastation that lead has on our raptor population and knowing that is 100% preventable with the use of non-lead bullets and non-lead sinkers.
  • Education is the key to “NO MORE DEATH BY LEAD BULLETS AND SINKERS.”

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Lead is found in many places and utilized in many ways, and we know it is a neurotoxic metal that when ingested causes neurological disorders. We have recently seen the efffect of lead in the water system in Flint, Michigan. We have listened to the news reports about neurological damage in children. We have also become aware of the devastating toll that lead is taking on the eagle population in this country. There are recent statistics that tell us 47% of Golden and Bald Eagles are stricken with chronic lead poisoning. How can this happen? Hunters use lead bullets and fishermen use lead sinkers. The eagle does not know when it dines on a fish or left over meat from a dead animal killed by a bullet, that it may have just signed its death warrant. 

As a wildlife rehabilitation center, we can only speak to the issue of raptor illness and death. We have no qualifications to talk about the many other uses of lead and possible detrimental effects. In the rehabilitation world, however, lead poisoning is preventable, utilizing non-lead alternatives to bullets and sinkers.   

What can we do to help end "death by lead?" 

  • Educate any of your hunting and fishing friends about the harmful use of lead sinkers and bullets.
  • See if there are any bills in your STATE legislature about banning lead on state lands.  Let your district representative know of your support for any such legislation.
  • Contact your United States Senate and House members about your support of any legislation banning lead sinkers and bullets on FEDERAL lands.  If your congressional member has a local office, that will be your best contact.   In 2022, S.4157, "Lead Act of 2022" was introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth and referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. (202-224-4971) Unfortunately, at the end of 2022, legislation that has not been acted on in committee dies.  2023 is a new Congress, and any bill about banning lead will have to be reintroduced in this Congress.
  • Contact Secretary Deb Haaland, Department of the Interior (202-208-3100) and express your support for legislation banning lead.