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NSFAH position on lead hunting ammunition



Switching to Non- Lead hunting ammunition.

At the September 2012 meeting of the Board of Directors of NSFAH, the Halifax Wildlife Federation tabled a motion asking the Federation to take a leadership role in convincing the hunting community to switch to non-lead ammunition because of the health risks to wildlife and humans posed by lead.

The impetus for this motion was a presentation made by Dr. Helene Van Doninck at the Federation’s AGM in March, 2012. Helene has been invited since then to make presentations to several member clubs, including Halifax Wildlife. Her presentation is not anti hunting, her goal is not to eliminate, or even reduce hunting, it is to eliminate lead from hunting.

Her presentation cites numerous scientific studies that demonstrate the extent of lead fragmentation is much greater than was commonly believed by the audience. Some of this fragmented lead is left behind, when the animal is field dressed, and later consumed by scavengers. Some of the fragmentation is taken home and may be consumed by our family and friends with whom we share our bounty. In either case the results are not good and it is a risk factor that can be entirely avoided by switching to non-lead ammunition for hunting.

The Board discussed the motion at length. There was concern expressed that the Government might legislate a change to non-lead ammunition, an outcome that no body wants. There was some skepticism about the scientific data and conclusions. There was reference to other scientific studies that lead to different conclusions.  Everyone agrees that lead is a poison that has been removed from paint and gasoline and is treated as a hazardous material in industry. If it presents a risk which can be easily avoided why take the chance?

In the end the Board passed the motion and directed the Federation to launch an information and education campaign to convince hunters that, given the potential risk factors, switching to non-lead ammunition is a prudent decision.  It was agreed that the decision must be a voluntary decision on the part of the hunter and the role of the Federation is to present the information that will convince the hunter to reach a non-lead decision.


Wilf Woods