The 2013 Torture and Slaughter of Sea Lions Commences in the Pacific Northwest


By Kirsten Massebeau

Port of Astoria March 24, 2013 By Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Dam Guardians

Port of Astoria March 24, 2013 By Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Dam Guardians

No marine mammal is safe when it comes to protecting the rights of commercial fisherman and anglers. Oregon and Washington are not about to give up even 1% of the salmon they harvest each year even if it means killing sea lions. Thanks to a court ruling National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)  is using lethal force to stop the Columbia River Sea Lions from taking salmon at the Bonneville dam where salmon struggle each year to make it through the man-made fish ladders. Any sea lion that visits the Bonneville dam more than twice will be killed or sent to marine parks such as Sea World to live their lives in captivity giving marine parks and aquariums a new source of display animals.

Panicked sea lions packed into a floated cage are branded one by one.March 24, 2013 by SSCS Dam Guardian

At the Port of Astoria panicked sea lions packed into a floated cage are branded with a hot iron one by one.
March 24, 2013 by SSCS Dam Guardian

“In 2011, sea lions consumed just over 1% of the salmon run at the same time that Oregon and Washington permitted fisheries in the Columbia River to harvest as much as 12 percent of the very same run”. (Source)

The Human Society makes some very good points as to why the salmon are not recovering. Sadly, again we find the work of human beings as reasons causing the collapse of salmon not the sea lions.

  • The plan to shoot sea lions coincides with estimates that this spring’s Columbia River salmon run is likely to be the among the fourth largest since 1980 while, as of the date of lethal removal authorization, only two California sea lions had been seen at the dam, the fewest to date of any year since 2003 and the time each animal spends at the dam has been steadily declining over the past few years.
  • The major causes of salmon losses are:

Dams: NMFS estimates the Federal Columbia River Power System kills 16.8 percent of adult Snake River Basin Steelhead and 59.9 percent of juveniles.

*Hatcheries: In 2009, a Congressionally mandated science panel found that current fish hatchery practices interfere with recovery and are in urgent need of reform.

*Fishing: The states annually authorize the incidental take of between 5.5 and 17 percent of the Upper Columbia spring Chinook and Upper Snake River spring/summer Chinook.  Additional salmon are killed in ocean fisheries. Employment of selective gear would permit wild, ESA-listed salmon and steelhead to be released unharmed when caught in the Columbia River fisheries that target abundant hatchery fish.

*Other Predators: Bird predators consume millions of juvenile salmon in the Columbia River estuary each year. NMFS scientists also estimate that non-native walleye that are intentionally stocked by the states in the Columbia River eat up to 2 million juvenile salmon a year.  (source)

Branded sea lions at the Port of Astoria by SSCS Dam Guardians March 24, 2013

Branded sea lions at the Port of Astoria by SSCS Dam Guardians March 24, 20113

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Dam Guardian’s are working in full force to document the injustices against the sea lions. SSCS Dam Guardian Ellie Buchanan recounts the cruel hazing of 30 sea lions on Palm Sunday:

Palm Sunday for some is supposed to be a peaceful holiday. We woke to the sounds of sea lion screams coming from Pier 36. We scrambled to get dressed, get our equipment, and get down to the docks. We were astounded by the sight of 30 + beautiful sea lions, in sheer terror, climbing upon each other and crying out in fear. Trying to escape their human captors. Sea Lions literally filled the trap, and the weight was causing the cage to sink.
The sea lions sitting on the docks were also upset. Little ones were swimming up to see their friends in the trap.
Matt from O.D.F.W. would bang on the bottom of the trap with a stick and the only way out of the trap was to go into the squeeze cage. Where they would be held tightly against their will, their movements restricted while seering hot irons were pressed into their flesh. (source)

A wounded sea lion struggles for life. March 22, 2013By SSCS Dam Guardians

An injured sea lion struggles for life after being branded. March 22, 2013
By SSCS Dam Guardians

A question many Oregonians have is how will this impact tourism? Ellie Buchanan SSCS Dam Guardian had first hand experience with this on Palm Sunday:

A woman was screaming “Don’t hurt the babies, Matt, how do you sleep at night?” We talked to tourists who heard the sea lions and this woman screaming. They flocked to the pier, and walked away with the truth about what is happening to our oceans, and to marine wildlife on The Willamette and Columbia River. I noticed they would come with smiles on their faces and left looking disturbed. With horror and tears on their faces.
With tears streaming down our face, we refused not to look away. We documented this horror for over six hours. (Source)

Sea lions at the Bonneville Dam March 22, 2013By SSCS Dam Guardians

Sea lions at the Bonneville Dam March 22, 2013
By SSCS Dam Guardians

Visit the website Sea Shepherds Dam Guardians and find out how you can join the campaign to save the sea lions.

Please join the event on Facebook Rock The #DamTweet For Sea Lions! There you will find many ways to take action so that you too can help to stop this terrible injustice to sea lions.

Wild Caught Turtles Tortured To Death


Snapping Turtle

Today it was brought to the worlds attention that http://www.campshorecampground.com/ in Aurora Indiana is throwing it’s yearly festival where they take wild caught turtles and torture them to death for entertainment by literally slamming them down on a cement slab, and then getting both hands around the neck and pulling until death occurs. Crowds stand by cheering as the horror ensues. The video and petition have gone viral.

All day activists have made phone calls and sent emails trying to get someone to care.  Can you do your part?

Sign the Petitions First:

http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-stop-torturing-and-killing-little-turtles-for-entertainment

http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-snapperfest?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=autopublish

Here is the information for the Fish and Wildlife Officer in Indianapolis where there is one officer.

Phone: 317-346-7014 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            317-346-7014      end_of_the_skype_highlighting  Email: MidwestNews@fws.gov

Here is a letter put together by Stacey

Dear (name)

To Whom It Concerns,

I am writing today to share my disturbance regarding the event “Snapperfest”. As established by footage and first-hand accounts, this event is characterized by the methodical torture of turtles in a demonstration of “entertainment”. During this event, a turtle is systematically brutalized, his tail and neck are pulled and ripped and his body is slammed repeatedly to the ground, all while he is fully conscious, subjecting him to what can only be considered excruciating pain and prolonged suffering and fear. Furthermore, according to Indiana law, this event should be classified as illegal considering that turtles are vertebrate animals.

Indiana law stipulates:

A person having a vertebrate animal in the person’s custody who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally abandons or neglects the animal commits cruelty to an animal, a Class B misdemeanor. A person who knowingly or intentionally purchases or possesses an animal for the purpose of using the animal in an animal fighting contest commits a Class A misdemeanor. However, a person who knowingly or intentionally promotes or stages an animal fighting contest, uses an animal in a fighting contest, or attends an animal fighting contest having an animal in the person’s possession commits a Class D felony. Further, a person who knowingly or intentionally beats a vertebrate animal commits cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class D felony if the person has a previous, unrelated conviction under this section or the person knowingly or intentionally tortures or mutilates a vertebrate animal.

Intentional Acts

35-46-3-12 Beating vertebrate animal

http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/statestatutes/stusinset.htm

IN ST 35-46-3-.05 – 15; IN ST 36-8-3-18

As such, I, along with a national contingent of concerned citizens, implore upon you to act swiftly and responsibly by using your influence to enact an immediate moratorium on this illegal event, and, until such a time, I feel my only recourse is to promote a boycott of your state with respect to both tourism and commerce. Please provide your voice for others to observe their obligatory duty and responsibility by protecting animals, not sanctioning their torture; your ethical and dutiful gesture of legal authority would serve as an model of civil and community justice.

Thank you for your time and attention to this urgent issue.

NAME

Stacey’s link

http://ourcompass.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/indiana-snapperfest-extreme-cruelty-to-turtles-one-petition-one-sample-letter/

 

Holise’s link: http://holisecleveland.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/call-to-action-sadistic-evil-in-aurora-indiana/#comment-1177

www.youtube.com

yvonnewalton@hotmail.com

twalton@cinergy.com

ohioctyauditor1@earthlink.net

info@campshorecampground.com

Complete contact details:

The Honorable Connie J. Brown
Ohio County Commissioner
yvonnewalton@hotmail.com 
812-438-4624 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            812-438-4624      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

The Honorable Todd Walton
Ohio County Commissioner
twalton@cinergy.com

The Honorable Shane Koons
Ohio County Commissioner
812-584-0378 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            812-584-0378      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

The Honorable Connie Smith
Ohio County Auditor
ohioctyauditor1@earthlink.net
812-438-2062 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            812-438-2062      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Campshore Campground
812-438-2135 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            812-438-2135      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (office)
812-290-5939 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            812-290-5939      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (cell)
info@campshorecampground.com

Local Media

Brazil Times | Brazil, IN

Phone: (812) 446-2216 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (812) 446-2216      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: (812) 446-0938
Address: 100 North Meridian Street Brazil, IN 47834

Tribune Star | Terre Haute, IN

Phone: (812) 231-4200 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (812) 231-4200      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: (812) 231-4321
Address: 222 South 7th Street Terre Haute, IN 47808

Vincennes Sun-Commercial | Vincennes,IN

Phone: (812) 886-9955 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (812) 886-9955      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: (812) 885-2235
Address: 702 Main Street Vincennes, IN 47591

Washington Times-Herald – Washington,IN

Phone: (812) 254-0480 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (812) 254-0480      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: (812) 254-7517
Address: 102 East Van Trees Washington, IN 47501

Save Columbia River Sea Lions


California sea lion

Image via Wikipedia

By Edward Johnson

Killing Sea Lions below the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia river is not the answer.

During the past month I have tried several times to write a post on the proposed killing of the California sea lions who  have the audacity to consume fish from their territorial Columbia River. During my searches I continue to find overwhelming objective data that supports allowing these marine mammals to do what they do the best, fish. Thankfully, the Humane Society United States (HSUS) continues to be the backbone of opposition to this unnecessary slaughter by employing a more than qualified person to search out the truth and present the facts relative to this issue, Sharon Young Marine Issues Field Director HS. The arguments she made in Support of the Sea Lions before the US House subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs are compelling. The subcommittee was chaired by State of Washington Congressmen Doc Hastings. Not only is he chairmen of the committee but he along with fellow congressional representative from Washington State, Norm Dicks, co-sponsored H.R. 946 (which would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972) to allow the Secretary of Commerce to grant permits for the “lethal taking of California Sea Lions.”

You may ask what has changed since 1972 that would allow tossing out a part of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in exchange for brutal force. Federal protection as often is the case; can enable  a decimated species to regenerate it’s  populations and eventually flourish. Thanks to federal protection the number of sea lions has increased. In the 1920’s seal lion populations off the west coast were decimated to a population in the thousands,  due to fur harvesting.  Today the sea lions numbers have increased to almost  three-hundred-thousand thanks to conservation efforts and federal protection.

Unlike the California seal lion whose populations have recovered, the Alaskan sea lions numbers have continued to decrease. Several factors seem contributing to their demise due to the over fishing of two species, cod and mackerel. In that situation, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed very restricted fisheries to helping the Alaskan sea-lion populations to recover. Some suggest that killer whales are the culprits as their diet now includes sea lions because the whale populations are so depleted.  I mention over fishing and the plight of the Alaskan sea-lion because there are similarities. Could over fishing on the West Coast be a factor driving the sea lions up the Columbia River?In essence we have dichotomies within nearly adjoining waters with the same agency NOAA and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) in the cross hairs of controversy.

I mentioned Sharon Young Marine Issues Field Director HS earlier.  Included is her objective data and profound observations, to help convince any doubters of her arguments, and objections to the slaughter of the Columbia sea lions. If only the members of HSUS which number 23 million would come on board and bombard their Congressional representatives, this House resolution would quickly disappear. In the meantime I have reviewed her testimony and will high light significant points that she made before the subcommittee. She was a member of the pinniped (seals) task force which that  made recommendations on salmon predation prevention. From the outset of her five-page rendering she made it clear that the problem of declining salmon runs had little to do with the sea lions and more to do with loss of habitat and poor management practices. Solidly grounded arguments made by Young demonstrated the impact of 1) hatchery fish,  2) the intentional introduction of non-native species, Walleye, and 3) fisheries both sport and commercial as mitigating and contributing factors to the slow recovery of salmon runs. She completely discounts the contention that the sea lions are an active threat to Columbia River salmon populations. Passage of HR 946 will not only allow “vigilante,” style killing of the sea lions, but will also undermine the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

When looking at the mainstream media coverage of this hearing, agency folks made the mistake of trying to establish the presence of sea lions on the Columbia River as a recent occurrence rather than citing the truth, that the California sea lions were first observed by Lewis and Clark on their famed visit to the Pacific Northwest 200 years ago. At one time the sea lions terminal point for migration was Cello Falls, some 180 miles upstream. Indian fisheries at these sacred falls witnessed seal lions the Columbia river,  and shared their catch with these fish hunters.  Today the journey of the sea lions ends at Bonneville dam, as it obstructs their natural migration.

Young used information submitted by NOAA and the Army Corp of engineers to piece together data that validated her contention that sea lion consumption of salmon had not changed, and may have even declined on a percentage bases. The number of returning salmon has increased leaving the quota by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFs), “Overall abundance of Chinook and steelhead potentially impacted by pinniped predation [has] increased or stayed the same since the last status review was conducted prior to 2005.” Using their figures she denotes the percentage decline of predation over the last three years stating with 4.2 percent in 2007 when the states’ first applied to kill sea lions; in 2008, the predation rate was 2.9 percent of the run; in 2009, it was 2.4 percent of the run; and in 2010 it was only 2.2 percent of the run. Preliminary wrap-up report for 2011 summarizing seal lion predation on the Columbia River, states that an estimated 1.4 percent of the run was consumed. The goal was to have been 1% and this year WITHOUT KILLING A SINGLE SEA LION THE GOAL WAS NEARLY ACHIEVED! On total numbers of fish consumed the government argues that the raw numbers have increased seven fold since 2000, when actually the percentage of the run consumed is the lowest since 2002.  As you can see we are witnessing another shell game at the expense of a potential death sentence for long term river residents.
sea lion

Please visit the following link and sign this petition:

“Save Our Sea Lions” 

http://www.change.org/petitions/save-our-sea-lions

Nuclear Power vs. Marine Mammal Sustainability


By Edward Johnson
A nuclear power plant damaged during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The authorities in Japan say that the damage done at the plants may include a partial meltdown on the reactors.
Today’s news proclaims that thankfully favorable winds are safely taking all airborne nuclear plant bye products away from land and out to sea. In my previous blog we asked for a time of healing, on that score nothing has changed. However since Champions for Cetaceans originated out of our passionate concern over marine mammals, we now rise on their behalf.  What remains in harm’s way, which includes our aircraft carriers, spending their nuclear power to evade deadly radioactive fallout, is the ocean itself. The wealth of this planet would be little without the ocean, its creatures, our source of food and most of the oxygen we breathe.  Our own origins can be traced to the sea and as I long ago learned, “Ontology recapitulates phylogeny,” or the history a given species(ontology) repeats the species which it  preceded(phylogeny}. Fifty million years ago, what we today recognize as marine mammals were terrestrial, living on land.  Slowing but surely they realized the benefits of water and the enormous bounty it could provide. In this they have developed capacities which are superior to humans their mammalian brethren.

I have a long history of opposing nuclear power and the events of the past few days have only reconfirmed that position.  My beliefs are based on the following considerations: 1) Small is Beautiful and they are not. In that matter we as a society are way too unarmored by instant gratification. Basically these nuclear driven plants split atoms with the release of a huge amount of energy which boils water and the steam turns turbines resulting in electricity. These large plants employ relatively few people and are owned by wealthy corporations that control the market place. On this day would venture a guess that these industrial giants have flooded the floors of Congress with money and resources to keep their programs alive. If you believe that bigger, faster, sooner is desirable then nuclear we go…but not me. 2)  When these plants malfunction based on some form of demise whether it is human operational error, inferior design, terrorists instigation, aging equipment, or natural disaster, we the people are responsible and will incur all recovery costs relative to damages and destruction. Lloyds of London the ultimate insurer of questionable undertakings, no longer will write policies and cover liability. In this country a growing portion of these nuclear facilities our owned by multi-national corporations, and they will walk the plank leaving our government responsible when disaster strikes. 3)  How much of our precious water can we allow to be wasted while these mega corporations continue to consume this commodity in ever increasing amounts? They use water from aquifers, streams, or oceans as if they were theirs and have little regard for the consequences to creatures that inhabit this planet. You can argue that certain restrictions are in place but only in degree. 4) Radiation and contamination of all places but particularly the sea and our mammalian brethren are at risk. The issue of radiation can be well documented by looking at what happened to the people of Japan following World War II. We are talking long terms, as mutations develop based on exposure to varying amounts of radioactively produced alpha & beta particles and gamma rays.  These extremely short and energy laden particles and waves pass right through living tissue be it diatom, embryo, human check cell, or marine mammal. The genetic code within cells is the recipient, and helter skelter can describe the resulting outcome. Mutations have made a significant contribution to the evolvement of living things, but intense radiation being evoked by today’s Japanese nuclear meltdown  will have tragic cellular outcomes and must be avoided.

At this moment our own Nuclear Energy Regulating Commission is considering the issuance of licenses to continue the operation of plants that were destined to retire. The most affected Japanese nuclear facility was/is scheduled for retirement within this calendar year, you are witness to the outcome. Please join me in opposing all re-licensing attempts. Encourage President Obama to better regulation, and the eventual closure of all nuclear power facilities in the United States.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Our Hearts Go Out to Japanese Earthquake Survivors


By Edward Johnson

Today and for the past few days since the horrific events in Japan, as with you my heart has ached. Maybe it is the knowledge that those tragic images foretell what we here on the Oregon Coast will certainly experience once, it’s all about timing. We here at Champions have taken strong positions with certain polices advocated and allowed by the Japanese Government and its people. This is not a time to place any additional blame on any action they have taken, but a time for healing on the parts of all.
Recently, I Ed(more affectionately know as Natural) have joined FaceBook, an act that previously had held my disdain, but no longer. Honestly that act initially was for the purpose of promoting Champions for Cetaceans. What occurred was totally unexpected but totally rewarding, for that I thank the many who have joined me as a friend. In that regard, at this early hour, would like to pay special tribute to two of those contacts, Sally Frandsen and Neil Priddy both former students, Sally for the first thumbs up for Champions and Neil for his overly kind expression of gratitude.
I hope you find the opening of this blog with the sounds of these Puget Sound Orca’s to be inspiring as well as healing. We are walking together hand in hand side by side, whether the water be deep or shallow and especially with the people of Japan.
Special thanks to the Orca Project and one of their founders Ralph Munroe, one of my sisters best high school friends.