May 7th, 2014 by Robin Dorman
Senate Bill 2026, which would have protected dogs and cats, was defeated on April 23rd in the Hawaiian Legislature.
Earlier this year, Hawaiian State Senate Committee Chair, Senator Clayton Hee (with HSUS Hawaii) introduced Bill 2026, which would have made the slaughter or trafficking of dogs or cats for human consumption illegal. The bill was defeated in the final days leading up to the 23rd. In years past, Carroll Cox of Envirowatch, with a messianic fervor, battled this issue through legislative work and his own radio and TV broadcasts, as well as documenting the purchasing and slaughtering of dogs for consumption. He inspired local activist, Barbara Steinberg, to work with other Maui activists, as well as Jane Shiraki of Oahu, to ask legislators to introduce a similar bill in both the Senate and the House to, in the words of Cox, “ban the eating, selling, purchasing, possession, trading, bartering, and giving or receiving of dog or cat meat in the State of Hawaii.”
“I have been in the presence and observed dogs being killed for the purpose of eating, some for commercial purposes. One individual killed 300 dogs in one year,” wrote Cox. “I did subject myself to that and it is horrendous. One gentleman takes a rebar pipe and then hits the dog on the head. They will hit the dog on the head or shoot or choke him.”
According to Cox, every size, breed, and color of dog is slaughtered.
“Everyone here in the state of Hawaii, in each racial group, each ethnicity, I’ve observed them either consuming or purchasing or being part of the preparing dogs for consumption,” said Cox. “There is a gentleman I know who will not eat any other meat than dog meat. He eats it quite commonly.”
Senate Bill 2026, which established the offense of cruelty to animals by slaughtering or trafficking dogs or cats for human consumption and included dogs or cats bred for human consumption, passed easily with amendments, from February to April of this year, through the Senate and House Committees, and then died with the Speaker of the House Joe Souki, from Maui, who failed to schedule conferees (or conferences) for a final committee hearing. It was learned that Rep. Souki and his Committee wanted more discussion about the cultural reasons behind dog and cat meat consumption. Senator Hee requested a conferee.
Steinberg, an artist who teaches young children—all of whom were ardent supporters of Bill 2026—to paint animals and to pledge to be kind and protect them, said using culture to justify eating dogs and cats doesn’t pertain to this day and age. It’s like slavery or binding women’s feet. Cultures evolve and change. Hawaii needs to be educated about the ongoing and pervasive dog and cat meat trafficking, and to remove the shackles of cultural excuses to continue this cruel practice. As Steinberg, says, dog and cat meat consumption in Hawaii needs to abolished.
Please take a moment to politely let Speaker of the House Joe Souki—who failed to schedule conferees (or conferences) for a final committee hearing—know how you feel about his actions that resulted in the death of this bill, and to urge him to support this legislation for the next session: