Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (Fullerton) should be congratulated for voting earlier this year in Sacramento to ban the use of lead in ammunition used for hunting. Instead, she and four other state legislators have been named as the subjects of recall efforts by a group calling itself Free California. The gun rights activists selected the five legislators for their support of eighteen different gun safety bills, including AB711, which will ban lead in bullets used for hunting by 2019. Seven of the measures were ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but AB711 was signed into law.
A Los Angeles Times article on October 31 reported that 21 California condors are being treated for lead poisoning at the LA County zoo instead of living healthy lives in the wilderness where they should be.
Adam Keats of the Center for Biological Diversity (an organization I recommend that readers support) is quoted in the story, “There’s a wide use of lead ammunition in condor habitats. The availability of lead needs to be reduced by sale and stocking,”
Condors are scavengers, who eat carrion. Lead in bullets essentially poisons their food source. The California Condor nearly went extinct until a captive breeding program brought their numbers back to viability. It’s still tough in the wild though, as long as hunters insist that their ability to use lead in ammunition is more important than the survival of an entire species of birds with a wingspan of ten feet.
Earlier this year Sharon Quirk-Silva supported a successful measure that restricted the trapping of bobcats, whose pelts were being sent to Asia.
She should not be the subject of a recall for trying, at least in these two instances, to preserve the wild fauna of California. We urge her to extend her concerns for protecting wildlife in our state by opposing the destructive desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach. If hunters don’t have sway over her decisions in Sacramento, then the unions who want jobs to build the idiotic desalination plant shouldn’t either.
Environmentalism isn’t a pick and choose proposition. While it may seem possible to strike a balance between supporting wildlife in one instance while degrading it in another, our ecosystems will ultimately collapse unless we preserve what’s left of them now.