May 22nd, 2014 by Robin Dorman
IDA wants to thank Hawaii legislators for nearly passing the bill that would have explicitly prohibited the slaughter or trafficking of dogs or cats for consumption. HSUS Hawaii worked with Hawaiian State Senate Committee Chair, Senator Clayton Hee, who introduced Senate Bill 2026, which was defeated on April 23rd.
The bill, 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, sailed through the Senate and House Committees (103 supported it and no opposing testimony), and then ended 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 Speaker Souki wanted more discussion about the cultural reasons behind dog and cat meat consumption as well as evidence that dogs and cats are actually eaten. Senator Hee had requested a conferee as did Representative Jessica Wooley, who introduced Bill 2026 in the House, and asked Speaker Souki numerous times to schedule a conferee, which never happened.
Bill 2026 would have enforced a new definition of “pet,” stating that you can’t slaughter and eat any dog or cat for human consumption, affording more protection to dogs and cats. The current definition in Hawaii is that any dog, cat, domesticated pig, rabbit, or caged bird cannot be eaten unless bred for human consumption. The prosecutors supported Bill 2026, because the current law isn’t good enough.
In the past, the slaughter and consumption of horses was included in Bill 2026, and Hawaiian activists wish to amend the current bill to include horses. Horses, like dogs and cats, are violently killed for food. Voters in Hawaii, please ask your legislators to offer more protection for horses—in 2008, in Maui, they were removed from the protected list.
When it comes to eating animals, not only is there what behavioral psychologists now call the “meat paradox”—loving animals and loving to eat them—but there is also the rationale behind particular cultural choices to do so, despite the pain, terror, and appalling cruelty occurring on a daily basis. Animals are living, sentient emotionally complex individuals with a purpose very much their own, with their own feelings and interests, one of which is experiencing the deep and profound pleasure of living their own lives. How often custom and the tyranny of habit impose cruel and stunningly barbarous and ethically indefensible death sentences upon other species.
For the passage of Senate Bill 2026, the time for pleading ignorance is long past.
To Help Pass Senate Bill 2026 in Legislative Session 2015—the banning of dog and cat meat consumption—please act now and send a letter to Hawaii Speaker of the House Joseph Souki, asking that he hold informed discussions about the pervasive issue of dog and cat meat consumption and to vigorously support this legislation in the next session, 2015. Also, Hawaiian IDA members, please contact your Representatives to support animal protection, including this bill.