KEYC - Bill Aims to Protect Venison, Bald Eagles

Bill Aims to Protect Venison, Bald Eagles

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Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-Roseville) introduced a bill which would prohibit the use of lead ammunition for deer hunting in Minnesota.

 “The aim of House File 1356 is two-fold: To protect the health of families who consume venison, and prevent the poisoning of our national symbol, the bald eagle,” stated Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (D-Roseville). “It is well-documented that lead is a neurotoxin that negatively affects human health,” stated Becker-Finn. She continued, “Consumption of even small amounts of lead by a child, or a lactating mom, could have severe and irreversible impacts on a child’s cognitive development. Cumulative environmental exposure to lead by humans is also a risk factor in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”

The problem was first brought to Becker-Finn’s attention when she was pregnant with her first child, and was preparing for the year’s deer season. Becker-Finn reported that she and her family members have replaced their lead bullets with copper during the deer season, and found the transition to be easy.

“Several studies in Minnesota and elsewhere have shown that tiny lead fragments can be found in venison from deer taken with lead bullets,” explained Becker-Finn. “Like many Minnesotans, we eat what we shoot. The idea that we could inadvertently be poisoning our family was extremely troubling.”

It has been well documented that bald eagles are poisoned by ingesting lead found in deer entrails. There is a corresponding increase in bald eagle lead poisoning and death related to our annual deer season. Much of this research has been conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. (https://www.raptor.umn.edu/our-research/lead-poisoning)

“My proposal is limited to the use of lead bullets for hunting deer. Nobody has to dispose of their lead bullets. It will not deprive anyone of the opportunity to purchase and use lead bullets for target shooting,” continued Becker-Finn. “This proposal applies solely to lead bullets for taking deer.”

“If we want to expand the shrinking base of those who purchase hunting licenses in Minnesota, then we need to remove some of the stigma around our shooting sports. Adding toxins to the environment and food chain is one such negative factor that we can easily address,” stated Becker-Finn. “Serving on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, I know that this proposal will not be readily accepted by everyone, no matter how sound and well-intentioned. However, I hope that my proposal will reinvigorate the discussion about the harmful consequences of lead in our food and environment.”

-KEYC News 12

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