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May 1, 2014

New Poll Shows Rhode Island Voters Strongly Favor Wildlife Protection Bills

Rhode Island voters support the phase out of lead ammunition for hunting and a ban on the use of cruel training devices on elephants

A statewide survey reveals Rhode Island voters support legislation to require the use of non-lead ammunition for the taking of wildlife, by more than a two-to-one margin.

Rep. Arthur Handy, D-18, and Sen. Joshua Miller, D-28, have introduced H 7838 / S 2628 which will protect Rhode Island’s rich natural resource by phasing out the use of toxic lead ammunition for hunting which poisons wildlife. The poll found that 62 percent of Rhode Island voters favor such a phase-out, while only 28 percent oppose it.

The survey also found that a large majority of Rhode Island voters, 81 percent to 11 percent, said they would support legislation to prohibit the use of bullhooks on elephants in Rhode Island. Legislation introduced by Rep. Raymond Gallison, D- 69, and Sen. Archambault, D-22, H7192 / S 2189, would protect elephants in Rhode Island from this painful, abusive training tool.

Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife protection at The HSUS said: “Lead from spent ammunition is known to poison tens of millions of animals every year, including species in Rhode Island. These survey results confirm that Rhode Island residents want this deadly toxin to be phased-out from hunting ammunition, which will further protect wildlife, people and the environment. In addition, devices that cause pain and suffering have no place in the handling of captive elephants. Rhode Island residents have made clear they do not support this kind of treatment toward elephants and we urge legislators to swiftly pass this legislation.”

The poll of 625 statewide Rhode Island voters was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. from April 24 – April 28, 2014. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

Facts

  • A single ingested lead shotgun pellet or bullet fragment is sufficient to harm an animal’s critical neuromuscular, auditory and visual responses making it more susceptible to death and predation.  
  • More than 130 species, including humans, are exposed to or killed by ingesting lead shot, bullet fragments or prey contaminated with lead ammunition.
  • Alternative non-toxic ammunition is available, including more than a dozen non-toxic shot time approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Lead ammunition has been prohibited nationwide for waterfowl hunting since 1991, and duck hunters and goose hunters have adapted to non-lead ammunition such as steel, copper and bismuth. In Rhode Island, toxic lead ammunition is still allowed to be discharged into the environment during other types of hunting, such as big game and upland birds, even though there are effective alternatives in the marketplace.
  • The use of bullhooks results in trauma, suffering and physical injury, often including lacerations, puncture wounds and abscesses to an elephant’s sensitive skin, which is rich in nerve endings and susceptible to abrasions. Elephant sanctuaries and most accredited zoos that house elephants no longer use these barbaric devices and instead rely exclusively on positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise.
  • The survey also found that 84 percent to 7 percent support legislation to provide egg-laying hens space to stand up and extend their limbs.

 Media Contact: Naseem Amini, 301-548-7793, namini@humanesociety.org


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