In his last full day in office on Thursday, Obama administration official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe issued a ban of lead ammunition on particular federal lands.
Effective immediately, federal lands like national parks and wildlife refuges will implement a ban on lead-based ammunition, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Activities such as hunting are expected to be impacted by this new ban.
Below is Ashe’s reasoning behind the ban on ammunition, which he claims centers around protecting wildlife from lead poisoning and exposure:
“Exposure to lead ammunition and fishing tackle has resulted in harmful effects to fish and wildlife species. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, lead poisoning is a toxicosis caused by the absorption of hazardous levels of lead in body tissues.
Ingested lead pellets from shotgun shells have been a common source of lead poisoning in birds. The Service recognized the problem of avian exposure to lead shot used for waterfowl hunting and enacted restrictions in 1991 and hunting and waterfowl populations have thrived since.
The use of lead ammunition continues for other forms of hunting, presenting an ongoing risk to upland or terrestrial migratory birds and other species that ingest spent shot directly from the ground or as a result of predating or scavenging carcasses that have been killed with lead ammunition and left in the field. Many states have enacted nontoxic shot and ammunition requirements to address this concern.”
Opponents of the ban have been vocal about the Obama administration’s last minute political agenda, such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Lawrence Keane, the group’s senior vice president, released a statement of response regarding the ban on lead ammunition:
“This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics. The timing alone is suspect. This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen, and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this and, instead, create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”
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