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HSUS Calls For Ban on Ammunition

Friday, November 14, 2008

The extremist animal “rights” group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is back to its old tricks.  Earlier this week, the vehemently anti-hunting and anti-gun group once again called for a nationwide ban on lead ammunition, saying that studies by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the North Dakota Department of Health prove that game shot with lead ammunition poses a health threat to those who consume it.

In a HSUS press release, Andrew Page, senior director of the Wildlife Abuse Campaign for HSUS said, “Extremist hunters have long contaminated watersheds and habitat, dooming animals to slow and painful deaths.  Now that hunters know their actions are directly putting themselves and other people at risk, there are no more excuses to use the ammo that just keeps on killing.”  

The typically hysterical rhetoric from HSUS has an all too familiar political ring to it: Alarm the public with fear tactics, label hunters as “extremist,” and push for radical, ill-advised, agenda-driven “solutions.”  Their real agenda is actually very transparent:  They are against hunting and want to make hunting more difficult and more expensive, with the end goal of eliminating it altogether, by any means possible.

In contrast to this rhetoric, the CDC study should actually dispel fears because it shows that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition poses no serious health risk.

The study, based on tests of lead levels in the blood of 736 North Dakota residents, found that not one of the study participants had a lead level that might require medical treatment.

In fact, study participants overall had lower levels of lead in the blood than the United States population in general, despite above-average consumption of wild game.  Of the study participants, 80.8 percent reported eating wild game, and 98.8 percent of those reported they had harvested the game themselves, or that friends or family members had taken it.  Most had regularly eaten significant amounts of game meat year round for 10 years or more.

The study was requested by the North Dakota Department of Health after a local doctor reported finding lead fragments in packets of ground venison donated to food pantries.  The doctor found the fragments through X-ray analysis.  Unfortunately, he was later discovered to have ties to a group that has supported broader bans on hunting with lead ammunition.  His findings, unfortunately, led to the premature disposal of thousands of pounds of donated venison that could have been used to feed hungry North Dakotans.

Though the study proved that eating wild game doesn’t dangerously elevate blood lead levels, hunters and shooters should, of course, follow basic lead hygiene practices as taught in NRA basic firearm training programs.  Washing hands, faces, and clothing after shooting or reloading ammunition, and cleaning bullet fragments and shot from wild meat before cooking, are common sense precautions anyone can employ.

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