The petition goes on to suggest that the use of lead poses a danger to wildlife, in particular raptors such as bald eagles, that may feed on entrails or un-recovered game left in the field.

The trade association for the US firearms, ammunition and shooting sports industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), has announced its opposition to the petition. NSSF president Steve Sanetti said: “There is simply no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations that would require restricting or banning the use of traditional ammunition beyond current limitations, such as the scientifically based restriction on waterfowl hunting.”

The NSSF points to recent statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to support its case.

These state that, from 1981 to 2006, the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the US increased 724%.

It also claims that a ban on lead ammunition would have a negative impact on wildlife conservation.

NSSF senior vice president Lawrence G. Keane said: “Needlessly restricting or banning traditional ammunition without sound science will hurt wildlife conservation efforts as fewer hunters take to the field. Hunters and their ammunition have done more for wildlife than the CBD ever will. And the CBD’s scientifically baseless petition and endless lawsuits against state and federal wildlife managers certainly do not serve the wildlife that the organisation claims to protect.”

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