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Irresponsible NRA causes lead poisoning in precious wild birds

More than 20 million wild American birds die each year from ingesting toxic lead ammunition.
More than 20 million wild American birds die each year from ingesting toxic lead ammunition.
Sierra Club

What does a small town in Maine, three dead eagles, and the NRA have in common? No; no one was shooting eagles in Maine, but they may as well have been.

On a cold January day, the residents of Wilton Lake, Maine, saw a majestic bald eagle plummet to the ground. They rushed it to a wildlife rehabilitation center. “X-rays showed a metal fragment in its intestinal tract,” said Diane Winn of Avian Haven in Maine. She also mentioned the blood tests showed lead levels were off the charts.

“The source of the metal is unknown, but it appears to be a piece of spent ammunition,” continued Winn. “As scavengers, birds can ingest pieces of lead from a carcass left in the field.”

Despite heroic efforts, the eagle died three days later, the small town's third dead eagle in just two weeks.

This tragedy was no isolated incident -- more than 20 million wild American birds die each year from ingesting toxic lead ammunition. Environmental and wildlife activists have been pushing to stop the use of lead in ammunition, and they’re asking for support.

The NRA, however, has been fighting to keep poisonous lead ammunition on the shelves -- spreading misinformation and attacking activists, scientists, and even zoos. Now the NRA's launching its biggest attack yet, pushing deceptive federal legislation that would make it nearly impossible to stop toxic lead from killing our wildlife.

This deadly piece of legislation has already passed the House, but it can still be stopped in the Senate. Organizations, such as the Sierra Club, have already fought back once before and won. Last fall, supporters stood up to the NRA -- and California passed the nation's first ban on lead ammunition.

This extremist SHARE Act would strip the EPA of its ability to keep lead ammunition and fishing tackle out of the environment. And it couldn't come at a worse time -- last year, a record number of California condors were treated for lead poisoning.

The science on lead is straightforward -- despite what the NRA and ammunition manufacturers want everyone to believe.

Lead is a deadly neurotoxin and it’s been eliminated from our gasoline, paint, and toys. But right now, over 3,000 tons of lead from bullets is being shot into the wild every year -- while another 4,000 tons from fishing tackle are lost in ponds and streams. Birds of prey often ingest these lead fragments -- either when they are left behind on the ground or when feeding on other animals that were killed with lead bullets.

Despite the propaganda, there are plenty of effective alternatives to lead ammunition. Hunters in Arizona have embraced safer copper ammunition -- even the U.S. military is making the switch.

“Enough is enough -- it is time to get the lead out,” say Ashley Allison of the Sierra Club.

TAKE ACTION: Click here to tell your senator: Stand up to the NRA and oppose the SHARE Act to protect our wildlife from toxic lead ammunition!

Stay up to date on the latest in green activism. Amanda Carlucci has her finger on the pulse of the green movement. Click here to subscribe to her column (it's anonymous and free). You CAN make a difference. Be a part of the movement.

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