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Urge your Representative to protect California sea lions
From In Defense of Animals

Backed by the powerful fishing, logging and energy industries, four Congressmen from the Northwest have introduced a bill (H.R. 6241) that would allow the killing of up to 80 California sea lions in the Columbia River per year ostensibly to save the endangered salmon population.

They say scaring the animals off with loud noises and electric shocks hasn't worked, so it's time to bring out the big guns -- literally.

What their bloodlust rhetoric completely ignores is that the cause of salmon depletion in the region is not sea lions feeding on their natural source of sustenance, but rather the incredibly destructive human interventions of overfishing, clear cutting and damming rivers.

Overfishing - Fishing is a major economic force in the Northwest, both commercial and sport. Humans take tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds of fish from this region every year, many times more than sea lions do. Not surprisingly, fishermen are one of the most vocal groups supporting the slaughter of sea lions.

Logging - Since well before humans arrived, salmon have been born from eggs laid high up in mountain streams. When the forests around these streams are clear cut by logging interests, it strips away the shade they need for cool temperatures and fills the waters with topsoil and logging debris, turning them muddy. Many young fish are unable to successfully navigate these waters and swim out to sea.

Damming - Dams built to produce electricity have the most deadly impact of any factor on salmon populations. They prevent young salmon from reaching the ocean, and block passage upstream so mature fish cannot swim to their spawning grounds and reproduce. In addition, a number of salmon are simply chewed up by the turbines that are built into each dam.

Sea lions have been eating salmon in the Columbia River for millennia in perfect ecological balance. Humans -- not sea lions -- are in fact responsible for the loss of salmon runs, but who is a Congressman going to cater to: constituents (both individual and corporate) whose livelihood depends on catching and selling fish or marine mammals who cannot even vote? It's much easier to blame the animals than address the real issues, which would cut into the fishing, logging and energy companies' enormous profits and have undeniable economic consequences. However, in the long run killing sea lions will not replenish the salmon, because the true causes of decimation will remain firmly in place. If H.R. 6241 passes, we will soon enough have neither the salmon nor the sea lions.

And when that happens, will the corporations and politicians move on to the next culprit -- the bears, bald eagles and ospreys who also eat the salmon? We must stop this madness here not only to save the sea lions, but to make it clear to those in power that they need to change their ways because we will not let them get away with blaming the victim any longer.

What you can do:

Please "Take Action" to tell your Representative to protect sea lions by voting against H.R. 6241 and to introduce a bill to save the salmon by making the fishing, logging and energy companies operate sustainably.

Please share this information with others!

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