As Dozens of Local Bald Eagles Have Fallen Victim to Lead Poisoning This Year, PETA Says Fishing Is to Blame
For Immediate Release:
August 23, 2019
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Menominee, Mich. – After a bald eagle sickened by lead poisoning was found hanging upside down in a tree this month, PETA plans to run a billboard calling out the culprit: people who fish and lose or discard lead weights. The ad shows the face of a bald eagle and the words “Get the Lead Out! Stop Fishing Now.”
One raptor center has reported 24 local cases of eagles with lead poisoning this year alone. The birds’ primary diet is fish, and anglers pollute ponds and streams with some 4,000 tons of lead lures and sinkers every year. People who hunt are also killing bald eagles, because the birds feed on “gut piles” left by hunters after they carve up a deer or bear. Hunters fire about 3,000 tons of cheap lead bullets and buckshot into animals each year. Altogether, as many as 20 million birds and other animals die from lead poisoning annually.
“A sliver of lead the size of a grain of rice can kill a bald eagle in just 72 hours,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Unless these symbols of America and their suffering are a joke to anglers and hunters, PETA is calling on them to take the lead out, hang up their rods and guns, and learn to live and let live. That would spare countless animals agonizing deaths, from sensitive fish yanked out of their aquatic homes to iconic birds sentenced to paralysis and organ failure.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—points out that all fishing tackle, including lead-free lures, hurts animals: Every year, millions of birds, turtles, and other animals sustain debilitating injuries after swallowing fish hooks or becoming entangled in fishing line. Wildlife rehabilitators say that discarded fishing tackle is one of the greatest threats to aquatic animals.
PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.