If you love orca whales, stop eating salmon | Letter

It’s curious that in all the scientific studies conducted on orcas, and all the political actions proposed to protect them, nobody ever states the obvious: human consumption of salmon is the main reason that orcas are endangered. Of course, we talk about “overfishing,” “habitat destruction” and “noise pollution,” but nobody says, if you love orca whales, stop eating salmon.

President Roosevelt has been quoted as saying, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” What we can all do with what we have right now is stop eating salmon. Many books written by nutrition experts, environmentalists and physicians state that a plant-based diet is more sustainable and healthier. Studies show that protein derived from tempeh, tofu, lentils, beans, split peas, nuts, and seitan are adequate sources. We as humans have the ability to adapt to a plant-based diet. Orcas do not.

If we really want to save our beloved killer whales, we should start contemplating the effects of what we eat. Food choices matter. Food choices have power. Books like “Diet for a Small Planet” – published over 30 years ago – and more recent books such as “The World Peace Diet” and so many other well-researched studies on human food production, outline how our food choices continue to devastate land and sea. We overfish and raise and process salmon in the same inhumane factory-farmed way that we raise and process cows, pigs and chickens. These practices are now taking a toll on our environment, our health and our orcas.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” A great slogan! Let’s put it into practice. The next time you read an article on the plight of the orcas in the Salish Sea, instead of bemoaning their fate contemplate the power of your food choices, and “do what you can”: make a commitment to stop eating salmon.

Joan Stamm