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Lead poisoning Arizona’s condors

Re the Feb. 23 story, “Survey: 90 percent of big-game hunters taking steps to protect condors”:

The article does not discuss the ongoing sublethal lead poisoning of Arizona condors and the dependence upon artificial feeding because of the lead poisoning problem.

All of the wild condors must be regularly captured and an appalling number require repeated painful and intrusive emergency treatments for lead poisoning to save their lives.

In 2005, more than half of all Arizona condors had lead exposure and 18 birds required emergency treatment. In 2006, 95 percent had lead exposure and 40 condors were chelated. Information on poisonings in 2008 is not yet available.

Sublethal lead exposure can cause neurological damage and impair vision, motor activity and breeding and parenting success.

Only 70 percent of hunters in Arizona (self-reported) are using non-lead ammunition under the voluntary program, whereas California Fish and Game reported 99 percent compliance with hunting regulations requiring non-lead ammunition in the condor range in California.

Condor experts and the Condor Recovery Team have concluded that as long as lead ammunition is used in the condor range, recovery of the species is unlikely.

A recent conference presented compelling evidence of risk to human health from lead ammunition. X-rays taken of deer killed by hunters revealed that lead bullets explode into dozens of tiny pieces, with half the deer carcasses in the study riddled with more than 100 lead fragments, raising human health concerns for those eating wild game shot with lead.

Lead is an extremely poisonous metal. Even very low levels can cause neural degeneration, digestive paralysis, brain injury and mental retardation. See www.peregrinefund.org/Lead_conference/2008PbConf_Proceedings.htm.

Jeff Miller

conservation advocate

Center for Biological Diversity

San Francisco


More in GOP need backbone like Gregg’s

A hearty thank you to Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire for standing up for two worthy principles: free markets and a non-politicized U.S. census.

The United States is in dire need of high-level politicians to be against President Obama’s “War on Prosperity” and Gregg deserves credit for giving up personal gain (the position of Treasury secretary) for the good of the country.

Would that more Republicans displayed such backbone consistently, as their chances in the elections of 2010 and 2012 are dependent upon praiseworthy behavior of precisely this type.

Mark Kalinowski

New York, N.Y.

Ban certain people from owning pets

According to statistics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 10 million pets end up in shelters every year.

Some are old, sick, abused or have behavior problems, but most are just unwanted. About 5 million of these are adopted into new homes every year, while the rest are euthanized. Then, the next year, the cycle repeats itself.

They say that the answer is to spay and neuter, and that would certainly help. But as long as spaying and neutering remain the “choice” of the owners, many will choose not to do this.

Therefore, I believe that some people should not be allowed to own pets. They usually get these animals on the spur-of-the-moment without any thought about commitment.

“I want one like I saw in that movie”, “Mommy can I have a pet?”, “It’s so cute, I gotta have it” are common reasons people acquire pets, then don’t know how to care for them. They expect a pet to have human behavior, but rather than commit to training and exercising the animal, it’s easier to get rid of it.

So what’s the solution? If somebody wants to adopt a child, they just can’t go out to an orphanage or an adopt-a-thon, pick one out and take it home that day. They are interviewed and their home is inspected to make sure they will suitable parents.

Maybe something similar needs to be done for pets or at least dog obedience classes, which train people how to be the dog’s leader.

Dogs are pack animals and they need to have a leader, but many people don’t know how to be that leader and that’s the cause of the behavior problems. Low-energy people shouldn’t have a high-energy dog.

If you are not willing or are unable to train, exercise, spay or neuter your pet, you shouldn’t have one because the animals people choose to have as pets have a right not to end up in a shelter when they become inconvenient.

So something needs to be done to keep uneducated, irresponsible people from obtaining pets that will eventually end up in a shelter or dumped along a highway and becoming a tax burden for the rest of us.

James Wilson

Speed, Ind.

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