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animal rights | environment

Court to Hear Oral Arguments Regarding Columbia River Sea Lions

Tomorrow, on September 3rd, at 1:30pm, a federal judge will decide whether to allow authorities to sacrifice Columbia River sea lions to their continuously failed management practices.
The hearing will be held in the Mark Hatfield Federal Courthouse at 1000 SW 3rd, in Judge Mosman's courtroom. If you would like to attend, you will need to show photo ID and go through a metal detector.

Judge Mosman, you may recall, ruled last spring that killing sea lions during the trial would not constitute "irrevocable harm," while letting them live would cause irrevocable harm. Thankfully, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals did not agree with him on that, and reversed his opinion. An injunction has been in place to prevent the killing, pending the outcome of this trial. (Even so, six sea lions died in the traps under extraordinarily suspicious circumstances.)

This is an extremely important step in the struggle to protect the Columbia river, the sea lions, the salmon, and all marine mammals. Because, if officials can get away with obscuring the real causes of the salmon crisis by scapegoating sea lions here, they will certainly try to do it elsewhere. All along the West coast, salmon are plummeting toward extinction. Fishermen on the Rogue, the Chetco, the Sacramento, and almost every river along the coast are accusing natural predators -- often the sea lions, but sometimes seals, orcas, ospreys, eagles, terns, and other links in the natural food chain -- of being the cause of the salmon crisis. As I have explained in many other articles over the past couple of years, the causes of the salmon crisis are, without exception, human-induced causes. This is an easily verifiable fact, impossible to refute. Nothing will save the salmon unless humans stop slaughtering them all. But rather than making the real, meaningful, effective, albeit painful changes that would actually stop the bleed, fish and wildlife officials are seeking to place the blame on the natural predators of the marine ecosystem. They are looking to this case to determine whether they can get away with this on other rivers, in Cascadia and on the California coast.

So yes, indeed, it is important to win this legal battle. Not only for the sea lions of the Columbia, but also for the sea lions, killer whales, sea birds, and yes, even the salmon, all up and down the West coast. Please keep good thoughts about this, and please take the time to educate people at every opportunity regarding what is really happening with the salmon. The sea lions are not to blame, and should not be sacrificed to greed or ignorance.