Thursday, July 19, 2012

NRA opposes changing away from lead shot which is killing wildlife

California condor
The NRA automatically opposes any legislation of any sort that has anything to do with regulating guns and ammo.  So it's no surprise that they oppose this one.

California condors have been endangered for many decades, due to shooting and chemical toxicity.  Now they face a new toxicity threat: lead.  Like vultures, condors eat already-dead animals. Some of those animals have been killed by shooters, with the lead shot still inside their bodies.

Studies have now found that condors are dying at an alarming rate from lead toxicity.

HERE is a good article on it.  From the article:

The impact of lead poisoning on the condor population has long been debated, but a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides some clarity. It shows that many condors are suffering the effects of lead poisoning, suggesting the population will continue to struggle as long as lead ammunition remains in use. 
Researchers compiled the results of over 1,100 blood samples taken from 150 California condors between 1997 and 2010. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children with blood lead levels above 450 ng/ml undergo treatment, and this is roughly the level at which the condors are taken in for treatment as well. About 20 percent of the birds sampled each year exceeded this level, and 48 percent of individuals living in the wild exceeded it at some point during the 14-year period. Blood lead levels as high as 6,100 ng/ml were seen. 
Because blood samples only provide a snapshot of lead levels, the group also analyzed feathers from 18 condors. The concentration of lead in each segment of the feather depends on the concentration in the body at the time that segment formed. That means that each feather records a few months of exposure history. From comparisons of the most recent segment to blood levels, they were able to estimate blood lead levels over the duration of the feather. 
The feathers showed that after ingesting lead, the birds’ blood concentrations exceeded 450 ng/ml for about a month. Unsurprisingly, blood samples often miss the peak lead concentrations, which were 1.4x to 14.4x higher. About 34 percent of the average feather history was higher than the level at which the condors are treated.
The Center for Biological Diversity just sent out a notice, urging their supporters to contact their legislators to put pressure on the gun industry to move away from lead shot.
Of course, the tons of lead shot into our environment each year don't just affect condors.  They affect all wildlife... and us. I grew up in Arkansas, where duck hunting is very popular.  Duck hunters routinely hunted in rice patties. Rice is a major crop in Arkansas, and they exported a large amount of their rice to Asian markets (believe it or not).  Unfortunately, the level of lead in the rice, from all that duck hunting, exceeded safe limits for those Asian countries, who then banned purchase of the rice.  Of course, us Americans were still eating it.  (I don't know how long the ban lasted or if it is still in effect).
HERE is a report put out by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, reviewing the danger of lead poisoning to California condors and giving information on non-lead bullet sources.  As the report details:
Biologists have documented over 300 instances of lead exposure in condors since testing began in 1999, with 45 to 95 percent of the condor population testing positive for lead exposure each year. ... 
Although there may be other sources of lead, a scientific study funded by the Arizona Game and Fish Department has identified lead from spent ammunition as the major source of lead in condors. Background lead from the environment does not appear to be a factor. An additional study has determined that condor lead exposure rates are highest during the fall hunting season in northern Arizona. This study also concluded that during this same time, condors spend forage heavily on the Kaibab Plateau. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is committed to reducing the amount of lead available to condors by encouraging sportsmen to take lead reduction actions when hunting in condor range. 
Condors incidentally ingest lead bullet fragments and shot remaining in game carcasses and gut piles. Fragments from lead bullets or lead shot have been found within the digestive tracts of condors 22 times in Arizona. Lead bullets fragment into hundreds of pieces before they exit a game such as a deer or coyote. Since condors are group feeders, and only one or two lead fragments or pellets can cause lead toxicity, one animal carcass or gut pile containing lead fragments or lead shot has the potential to poison several condors.
The report lists sources for non-lead ammo, and makes recommendations about minimizing effects, such as removing carcasses from access to condors.

Of course, I'm sure the NRA will label this as "junk science" and urge legislators to ignore completely.  What's a few dead condors (out of only around 200 left in the wild) compared to gun industry profits and tradition?


  1. But, but, but--it's unMurKKKan to not shoot things with lead bullets--and it's expensive!

  2. Crap! you beat me to this post--I had one set to publoish on Sunday on this topic.

    I'll leave it publish though.

    The NRA doesn't approve of anything which infringes upon the right to keep and bear arms--they don't call this junk science.

    It's gotta be lead!

    Otherwise the gunloons will star tthinking!

  3. "The Center for Biological Diversity just sent out a notice, urging their supporters to contact their legislators to put pressure on the gun industry to move away from lead shot."

    I wonder if they included some of their condoms with animal pictures on them that they sell?

    1. The endangered species picture condoms are an earth day giveaway celebratiion thing they do, FWM.

      Nothing like celebrating earth day with a little safe sex, (or a lot of safe sex). It makes more sense than any abstinence only sex ed, certainly - that's as massive a failure as the gun culture.

      The dangers of lead occur not only to the Condors; at a recent dog show I was chatting with one of the judges who had to put down one of her top winning dogs. Her husband did handloading in the basement for years.

      Kept insisting all that lead was safe, that it wouldn't contaminate anything.

      It conatminated the dog, who suffered horribly before being correctly diagnosed after a few thousand $ in vet bills. The dog couldn't be saved, and had to be euthanized.

      The husband is going to recover, but his lead levels were off the charts. The rest of the family had varying levels of contamination as well.

      They had to have crews come in with hazmat gear to clean out the contamination in their home, which was extremely costly.

      Hubby won't be playing with lead in the basement any more.

      Good thing the judge and her husband were past their childbearing activities; but their kids are less than enthused about the problems they might be facing in that regard.

      From our Mayo Clinic web site on lead poisoning symptoms

      Symptoms in adults
      Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults may include:

      High blood pressure
      Declines in mental functioning
      Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
      Muscular weakness
      Abdominal pain
      Memory loss
      Mood disorders
      Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm
      Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women

      If the NRA ever decided to appear to younger members instead of their old white flabby and crabby members, those hand loaders and presumably others as well will reduce their own numbers like the holy rollers. They won't need any of those pretty pictured condoms; they will be unable to conceive anyway. And with those mood disorders, they are unlikely to get in the mood either.

      Bet it ups the already high numbers of their suicides using their fetish objects though.

    2. Also, lead poisoning diminishes intelligence as well.

      I think that explains quite a bit about gun loons.

      Personally, I would prefer that humans became an endangered species; although, they are pretty much doing a good job of that without the designation.

      It would be nice to have fewer humans on the planet.

    3. "It would be nice to have fewer humans on the planet."

      So why don't you just thank all of the mass shooters for helping out with your wishes?

    4. Because there is a very large difference between voluntary limiting of population growth through measures like birth control versus killing and wounding people under cover of 2nd amendment freedom.

      You could help though JimF. Since you don't get that simple and important difference between contraception and mass shooting, you could provide a double benefit if you volunteer to reduce the population by personally leaving the column of the living. At one fell swoop, less population by one, and at the same time it would raise the world population average IQ.

      Because your statement proves you are stupid, superficial, and lacking morality.

    5. DG - since Laci is the one wishing for fewer humans on the planet I suggest he is the one that should volunteer to leave for the good of humanity.

    6. Because since you are the one suggesting that we should be grateful for mass shooters killing people, and arguing for the connditions which make it possible for these to occur, clearly you are the one who should go, not Laci.

    7. Voluntarily go, of course. Like Mitt Romney's self-deportation, only more so.

    8. No, Jim, you are a much better choice--your opinions show that you are a selfish, waste of air.

      The worlds would be much better off without the likes you morons like you.

      Unfortunately, Jim, you have already caused more than enough suffering and damage.

      I'm just trying to remediate the fucked up situation the likes of you have been perpetuating the past 30 odd years.

    9. Well clearly we see another example of Laci imagining he is the one to decide who should live and who should die. Thanks for the well wishes Laci - have a good weekend too.






    11. We see nothing of the kind JimF; clearly YOU don't care about people being shot and killed for no reason, and Laci does.

      To try to twist that the way you did is very very wrong.

      That you try to then blame someone else for your wrong thinking is a double failure on your part Jim.

  4. Replies
    1. they're different enough it's still queued for posting.