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Many upset about legal California sea lion killings

Animal rights advocates are up in arms over the recent decision by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that will allow as many as 92 California sea lions to be killed each year in order to protect the Columbia River salmon, which swims in Oregon and Washington, Reuters reports.

Although the sea lions do feast on the endangered animals, critics of the decision say that the mammals are unfairly blamed for the dwindling salmon population. They argue fishing, hatchery practices, hydroelectric dam barriers and the degradation of the environment are far more threatening, according to the news outlet.

"This hardly seems like a situation that requires fatal management," Sharon B. Young, marine issues field director for the Humane Society of the U.S., told The Associated Press.

The decision allows Washington, Oregon and Idaho agencies to legally kill as many as 92 sea lions per year, but NOAA's Fisheries Service expects that only about 25 to 30 sea lions will be removed.

"We don't take enjoyment in removing these animals," Steve Williams, deputy administrator of Oregon Fish and Wildlife's fish division, told the news outlet.

The practice was overruled in a court order spearheaded by the HSUS in 2010, but this decision allows it to continue.
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