TTSS STANDS FIRM ON NEED TO ADDRESS TOXIC LEAD IN AMMUNITION
As TTSS kicks off its Fall Membership Drive, the Board of Directors stands firm on the Society’s fight against toxic lead. On 7 June, TTSS along with six other conservation groups filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency for refusing to address toxic lead in hunting ammunition, which frequently poisons and kills eagles, swans, loons, endangered California Condors, and other wildlife, as well as affecting human health. Ignoring well-established science on the dangers of lead poisoning from spent ammunition, the EPA refuses to acknowledge or evaluate risks to wildlife and humans. The EPA in April denied a petition requesting a public process to consider regulations for nontoxic hunting ammunition. TTSS was one of 100 groups that signed that petition. The lawsuit challenges that decision.
“The EPA has the ability to immediately end the unintended killing of eagles, swans, loons, condors, and other wildlife,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Unfortunately, the agency refuses to address this needless poisoning. We’ve removed toxic lead from gasoline, paint, and most products exposing humans to lead poisoning; now it’s time to do the same for hunting ammunition to protect America’s wildlife.”
For several years, the Directors of TTSS have urged decision makers to “get the lead out.” In Washington State and adjacent British Columbia, since 1999, over 3,000 swans have been confirmed to have died from ingesting lead shot. Expended lead shot persists in the environment for a long time. These swans died from ingesting lead shot deposited by hunters years ago.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has branded this a frivolous law suit and an attack on hunting. As a hunter, TTSS’s Executive Director, John Cornely, takes very strong exception to that, and stresses that getting the lead out is in line with traditional conservation and hunting values. Indeed, TTSS was founded by waterfowl biologists and hunters and has avid hunters and anglers on its board, staff, and as members today.
There are alternatives to lead rifle bullets and shotgun pellets. More than a dozen manufacturers market varieties and calibers of nonlead bullets and shot made of steel, copper, and alloys of other metals, with satisfactory to superior ballistics. Hunters in areas with restrictions on lead ammunition have very successfully transitioned to hunting with nontoxic bullets. As the next generation of cygnets fledges, the message from TTSS’s John Cornely is clear, “let’s make the environment safer for them and all of us.”
Associate Director Becky Abel stresses that membership is key to strengthening our voice for Trumpeter Swans and the habitats upon which they depend. To do this, TTSS needs more members, more funds, and more people who understand and support the issues that we tackle. One of our generous board members has offered a membership challenge and will match dollar for dollar all new and increasing donations to TTSS. This is the ideal time to join. Do you know of a classroom that is reading E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan? Why not give the teacher a membership? Are you looking for a meaningful gift idea for a conservationist on your list? Your donations will be matched – JOIN US online today!