ENVIRONMENT -- In an effort to reduce lead toxicity hazards to wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it has banned the use of lead ammunition for it's official control hunting of nuisance birds such as blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, crows and magpies.
The agency often allows lethal control of these birds in areas where they congregate in numbers large enough to cause damage to crops or property or pose a health or safety hazard.
This new regulation will require the use of non-toxic ammunition in the control of these nuisance birds.
“Depredation hunting tends to leave large amounts of highly toxic lead ammunition on the ground that non-target birds and other wildlife consume while mistaking it for food," said Michael Fry, an avian toxicologist and advocacy director for the American Bird Conservancy.
"We have had many discussions with FWS about using non-toxic shot for all agency operations and we are very glad they have made this decision.”
“The paint industry got the lead out, the gasoline industry got the lead out, the toy industry got the lead out, the home building industry got the lead out of plumbing, and even the automotive industry most recently is getting the lead out of the wheel weights on cars," Fry said.
"The lethal impacts of lead in our environment are so well documented and accepted by the science and health community that any deliberate release of lead into a public environment should be viewed as unacceptable."