SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Earlier today, Assemblymember Pedro Nava announced the introduction of Assembly Bill 2223, which will ban the use of toxic lead shot in California’s 627,000 acre network of State Wildlife Areas. As a result of widespread scientific consensus that the use of lead shot for waterfowl hunting poses a significant danger in wetland environments, its use has been banned by federal law.
However, the use of lead shot for upland game is currently allowed in most State Wildlife Areas, and often results in lead being introduced into wetland environments. This has been supported by recent reports concluding that both wetland and upland birds ingest spent lead shot, thereby creating the potential for devastating effects.
“We need to get lead out of wildlife areas,” Said Mr. Nava “It makes no sense to allow people to leave poisonous material in our state parks. We expect people to clean up their litter, we should expect something similar of our hunters.”
A total of 25 states have lead shot prohibitions for hunting beyond those required by the federal government for waterfowl. Of the 40 states that allow dove hunting, 16 have some level of nontoxic shot requirements specific to dove hunting. Lead shot is banned outright in Canada, our North American neighbor.
“Allowing this situation to continue is inconsistent with the state’s mission to manage these wildlife areas to the highest standards,” said Dan Taylor, Director of Public Policy for Audubon California. “These areas are islands of habitat that serve as magnets to wildlife and human visitors with excellent wildlife viewing, fishing and hunting opportunities.”
“There are alternatives to lead shot widely used by hunters throughout the nation. There’s no excuse for continuing to spread this toxic substance into the environment and put so many animals at risk,” said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Like asbestos, lead doesn’t just killbut delivers slow, agonizing death.”
Assemblymember Nava also authored the Ridley Tree Condor Preservation Act, which prohibited the use of lead ammunition in areas inhabited by the California condor because of the dangers that it posed for that protected species.
“We would expect hunters to embrace and quickly adapt to the new regulations as they did with the ban on lead shot for waterfowl,” said Taylor. “There is no reason to choose between conservation and recreation on these lands.”
“Lead has long been known to be a toxic substance with no biological benefits,” said Pamela Flick with Defenders of Wildlife. “This toxin has rightfully been banned in everything from gasoline to cookware, even shot for waterfowl. It’s time to get the lead out of our State Wildlife Areas and this bill will do just that.”