Waterfowl hunting in the context of lead contamination and ethically non-conforming conduct
Felsmann M.Z., Szarek J.
Projectiles made of lead alloys are used for waterfowl hunting in Europe. The paper demonstrated that lead pellets, due to their construction and use, contaminate the environment, especially water ecosystems. During one hunting session, tens of thousands of lead balls are introduced to the environment. Moreover, dispersed heavy metal is ingested by birds as gastroliths; as a result, game birds as well as protected birds become intoxicated with lead. During hunting trips, birds are also injured. When entering into the food chain, lead from pellets poses a risk to many living organisms, including predators and scavengers. Injured or intoxicated birds have difficulty joining seasonal migrations. Meat, especially of wild ducks and geese, is consumed during the hunting season by hunters and their families. Considering the level of lead in the muscles of game birds, venison consumers are also exposed to lead intoxication. In Europe, an increasing number of hunters who use lead pellets has resulted in lead being accumulated in game birds, which is a hazard to the public health. In view of the above facts and other hazards resulting from hunting, which endanger humans and animals, the authors recommend a total ban on waterfowl hunting.
Felsmann M.Z., Szarek J. 2015. Waterfowl hunting in the context of lead contamination and ethically non-conforming conduct. J. Elem., 20(3): 785-796, DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2015.20.1.848
lead, lead intoxication, environment, hunting, waterfowl, public health, venison