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Here’s another side to the seal debate

BY BRYAN PEASE

The recent op-ed by Sue Bridge regarding the Children’s Pool is an example of the type of misinformed vitriol and deliberate fabrications that have been preventing constructive debate on national issues such as health care reform.

Ms. Bridge sounds like one of the paranoid “tea baggers” railing on about “death panels” and other nonsense. If this local debate reflects larger national debates, perhaps Ms. Bridge is La Jolla’s own Sarah Palin. Maybe she would also like to gun down the seals from helicopters.

Ms. Bridge blames the city for spending “an estimated $5 million to keep the seals in the Children’s Pool.”

Not only did she just make that number up - the figure is less than $1.5 million - but the city

was forced to spend this money by a judge who is friendly with Paul Kennerson, before he promptly retired. Most of the money - about $1 million - went to Kennerson himself, the rest to consultants for dredging.

The seals have always used this spot, where they rest, give birth and

nurse their young, but most of the time they are far out at sea eating fish. Several hundred individual animals have been documented using the

area, but no more than 50 to 150 are ever hauled up at one time. Their waste from fish eaten far out in the ocean then fuels biodiversity here.

The sea wall was built in 1931 directly on top of the rock where they used to haul up, and they were then hunted to nearly extinction. After the pool filled in with sand and the Marine Mammal Protection Act brought their population back, the seals started using the beach, to the delight of hundreds of thousands of visitors and residents each year.

If not for my filing suit in federal court last year to block the extreme dredging and seal dispersal order obtained by Mr. Kennerson, the city would already have been forced to spend several hundred thousand more dollars implementing a barking dog plan.

Ms. Bridge disingenuously refers to the Animal Protection & Rescue League’s tax returns as if all contributions are seal related, when this is actually just a small part. APRL’s main mission is to end the cruelty and environmental destruction caused by factory farming (also incidentally the source of most of the nation’s health problems), and APRL was instrumental in passing Proposition 2 last year, banning certain cruel cages. See

www.APRL.org

and

www.SaveSanDiegoSeals.com

for more information.

Bryan Pease, Esq., is board chairman of the Animal Protection & Rescue League.