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Lead-Free Hunting Rifle Ammunition: Product Availability, Price, Effectiveness, and Role in Global Wildlife Conservation.

Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada, .
AMBIO A Journal of the Human Environment (Impact Factor: 2.97). 01/2013; DOI: 10.1007/s13280-012-0361-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Proposals to end the use of lead hunting ammunition because of the established risks of lead exposure to wildlife and humans are impeded by concerns about the availability, price, and effectiveness of substitutes. The product availability and retail prices of different calibers of lead-free bullets and center-fire rifle ammunition were assessed for ammunition sold in the USA and Europe. Lead-free bullets are made in 35 calibers and 51 rifle cartridge designations. Thirty-seven companies distribute internationally ammunition made with lead-free bullets. There is no major difference in the retail price of equivalent lead-free and lead-core ammunition for most popular calibers. Lead-free ammunition has set bench-mark standards for accuracy, lethality, and safety. Given the demonstrated wide product availability, comparable prices, and the effectiveness of high-quality lead-free ammunition, it is possible to phase out the use of lead hunting ammunition world-wide, based on progressive policy and enforceable legislation.

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    • "All rifles fired the same projectiles; 12g/180 grain Woodleigh hydrostatically stabilised blunt non-deforming solid bullets (Table 1; Fig. 1b). These projectiles are constructed from copper-alloy (see Thomas, 2013) and have been developed to allow deep tissue penetration in large, thick-boned game species. These projectiles were chosen on the basis that blunt-nosed non-deforming projectiles have previously been shown to successfully penetrate cetacean craniums (Øen and Knudsen, 2007) while shotgun solids, "
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    ABSTRACT: Efforts to euthanise stranded cetaceans remain highly variable in their outcomes, with few field tested operational procedures available. This study sought to validate the efficacy of using modern firearms technology to euthanise small (<6m length) stranded cetaceans. Post-mortem evidence was gathered from the standardised shooting of cetacean cadavers (n = 10), representing six species, using .30 caliber (7.62mm) firearms and blunt solid copper-alloy non-deforming projectiles, in southwestern Australia. The six species studied were Risso's dolphin, common dolphin, bottlenosed dolphin, pygmy sperm whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, and humpback whale. Post-mortem data revealed that 100% of bullet wound tracts fully penetrated the skulls of shot animals, with associated indirect skull fracturing, secondary bone missiles and brain parenchyma laceration. The results suggest that appropriate firearms technology is fully capable of inducing instantaneous fatal pathology to the central nervous system of these species. In comparison to alternative methods for the euthanasia of stranded cetaceans, the use of firearms is associated with superior animal welfare outcomes, public safety levels and accessibility. This paper provides a template for the safe, humane and repeatable use of this technique to euthanise <6m length stranded cetaceans. killing method are the duration and intensity of suffering induced before the animal becomes permanently insensible (Mellor and Littin, 2004; Newhook and Blackmore, 1982). While the intensity of suffering is a difficult parameter to quantify or objectively assess, duration of suffering is relatively simple to measure (Knudsen, 2005). A recent scientific focus on quantifying animal welfare outcomes has seen the parameter time to death (TTD) commonly adopted as a parameter for assessing wildlife killing techniques (e.g. Cowled et al., 2008; Hampton et al., 2014a; Gales et al., 2008). Physical euthanasia methods are generally considered to be the only killing methods capable of providing instantaneous deaths (Grandin, 2006). As such, the proportion of animals for which TTD is zero, known as the instantaneous death rate (IDR) is commonly cited to benchmark physical killing methods (Hampton et al., 2014a), in particular for marine mammals (Gales et al., 2008). The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has used TTD and IDR to assess cetacean killing methods for more than thirty years (IWC, 1981; 2012). Firearms have been used for killing cetaceans (<6m length) in commercial and indigenous whale harvesting operations for decades (IWC, 1981; Øen and Knudsen, 2007). The studies of Ingling (1997) and Øen and Knudsen (2007) demonstrated that large calibre rifles are adequate for the rapid euthanasia of harpooned bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) and minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). However, the techniques described by Øen and Knudsen (2007) have not been widely utilised for euthanising stranded cetaceans (Barco et al., 2012). One of the impediments to the employment of these methods is the inaccessibility of the large centre-fire calibers described
    Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 01/2015; 577375(141):117-123.
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    • "The economic burden for individual hunters switching to non-lead ammunition has also been inadequately described . Thomas (2013) surveyed costs of different ammunition types sold by a major online and mail-order retailer and, based on the average cost across lead and non-lead types, concluded that there was no significant economic impact to switching to non-lead ammunition. "
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    • "The economic burden for individual hunters switching to non-lead ammunition has also been inadequately described . Thomas (2013) surveyed costs of different ammunition types sold by a major online and mail-order retailer and, based on the average cost across lead and non-lead types, concluded that there was no significant economic impact to switching to non-lead ammunition. "
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    ABSTRACT: ammunition and fishing tackle on birds and discuss strategies for mitigating risks to wildlife and human health. Their Review raises an important set of questions for hunters, wildlife managers, and conservation scientists. Effective mitigation will require careful understanding of technical, economic, and social dimensions of the problem. Here, I focus on challenges specific to adopting non-lead ammunition for hunting, particularly for large game animals. I discuss limitations of using the ban on lead ammunition for waterfowl hunting as an analog for reducing lead use for other types of hunting, explain important technical considerations in design and use of non-lead ammunition, and point out areas where effective non-lead alternatives are still lacking. I suggest that currently available economic analyses of the cost of non-lead alternatives are inadequate and do not recognize wide variation in hunter behavior. These considerations have strong implications for designing effective outreach and predicting responses of hunters asked to consider non-lead alternatives. Enforcing outright bans on using lead ammunition for all types of hunting, as recently enacted in California, may prove even more challenging than similar restrictions for waterfowl hunting. Despite this, I propose that major reductions in exposure of wildlife and people to lead bullet fragments are achievable, particularly through outreach and incentive programs that focus on the most commonly used types of firearms for big game hunting—high velocity modern rifles. Bullets from these widely used rifles typically produce the most lead fragments and have the best selection of effective non-lead options available at this time. Efforts to change hunter behavior must recognize the true costs and challenges of changing to non-lead ammunition. Likewise, hunters should recognize and accept their important role in wildlife conservation and work to embrace effective alternatives to lead as they become available.
    The Condor 07/2014; 116:429-434(3). DOI:10.1650/CONDOR-14-78.1 · 1.35 Impact Factor
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