For me, I am vegan because I love animals and it hurts me to see them suffer. I haven’t been very active lately, besides living vegan and encouraging good food. Recently I started to get very upset over so many things happening in this world which affects animals. It can be so overwhelming and depressing sometimes! I knew I had to make a choice; be depressed about it, or do something more. I decided to do something more.
My parents live along the Columbia River. I have seen sea lions swimming along the river and was mesmerized by them. When I would visit Astoria, my favorite place to visit was the pier next to Safeway which you could easily find listening to the barks of the sea lions. They were lined up along the different docks, sleeping and arguing and swimming and sun bathing. They were great!
Then I heard they are being killed at the Bonneville dam, and potentially anywhere else they were deemed a threat to salmon. The truth is, sea lions eat less than 4% of the salmon while fishermen catch an upwards of 12%, which was recently raised. I guess the state feels fisherman catching fish are more important than the lives of sea lions! This issue is so misunderstood by the public, due to lies from government agencies. The news reports that animals are being killed since they are sick and have cancer. The truth is about 40% of sea lions have a virus which can predispose the animal to a form of cancer, but 82% of these animals never contract cancer. The virus does not affect them living normal lives. Other sea lions were killed because they were considered overweight. The sea lions traveling up the Columbia are primarily male, trying to fatten up for mating season. Once again, the state is punishing the sea lions for doing something that is normal and natural for them.
The government is suppose to work from a lethal removal list, which are sea lions identified as “repeat offenders” (i.e., eating). Recently, the government was caught capturing and potentially killing a sea lion not on the list. This should be something that could be stopped, since by law, it is not suppose to be okay. Unfortunately a judge recently ruled that In Defense of Animals could not even bring the issue to court since the sea lion himself did not have standing and IDA could not represent the sea lion since it did not affect them. So crazy!
I am not the most educated about this issue, although I am trying to learn all I can. I encourage you to do the same! Please visit http://www.sealiondefensebrigade.org/ for more information.
What you can do!
* Write letters to the editor
* Educate your neighbors and co-workers
* Volunteer with Sea Lion Defense Brigade
* Donate money and other needs from their wish list
* Get on the “cool bus” April 16 for a field trip to Salem
* Contact the following agencies and people and let them know you want the sea lions left alone.
Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife Rick Hargrave 503-947-6020and cell 503-559-1592
Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife Craig Bartlett 360-902-2259
US Amry Corps of Engineers Diana Fredlund 503-808-4514
NOAA Fisheries Garth Griffin 503-231-2005
Contact your legislators! To find out who they are and their contact information, go here http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/
There is something everyone can do. Allow your voice to be heard!