Petition Watch: ‘Stop Poisoning Bald Eagles With Toxic Lead’ Nearing First Signature Milestone

(EnviroNews World News) — A signable petition, published by the non-profit media and animal advocacy organization Lady Freethinker, is nearing its next signature milestone of 35,000 signers on the Change.org platform. The petition demands that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) stop the inadvertent careless poisoning of America’s bird, the iconic bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), with “toxic lead” from hunting munitions.

The petition states:

After the kill, hunters often leave carcasses and gut piles riddled with ammunition in their wake. These carcasses are attractive sources of food for bald eagles. But because hunters use lead ammunition, this meat is toxic — and often fatal.

In the petition’s writeup, Lady Freethinker points out that after years of sounding alarms over lead poisoning in birds, “Finally, in January 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service addressed the problem and announced a policy that would prohibit lead ammunition in more than 150 million acres of National Wildlife Refuges and other federal land and waterways by 2020.” But the Department of the Interior (Interior), under newly appointed Secretary Ryan Zinke, reversed that action in early March.

In regards to Zinke’s move, Neal McNamara of Patch.com wrote:

On his first day on the job as Interior Secretary on Thursday, Zinke, a former Montana Congressman and avid hunter, signed an order repealing an Obama ban on use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on certain federal lands. The ban wasn’t in place long, however: Obama signed the directive on Jan. 20, his last day in office.

On the same day Zinke signed the backward-moving rule (again his first day as head of the Interior), the death of a bald eagle in Washington State at the Sarvey Wildlife Center made headlines around the country, after that bird expired following a week-long battle from acute lead poisoning — bringing attention yet again to an issue that kills millions of wild animals in America every year.

The petition criticizes Zinke’s backpedaling, and asserts, “The rescinding of this protection shows a blatant disregard for the well-being of animals.”

The petition also points to an LA Times article from 2010 that states, “Scientists estimate that more than 10 million birds and other animals die each year from lead poisoning in the United States,” and also adds, “Water birds such as cranes, ducks and loons also suffer from the toxic effects after ingesting discarded or lost lead fishing weights that are mistaken for food or grit.”

The petition can be visited, examined further, and signed by interested citizens at this link: https://www.change.org/p/sign-stop-poisoning-bald-eagles-with-toxic-lead?recruiter=88751072&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=des-lg-action_alert_sign-no_msg

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