Horrific Hawaiian Bill Deferred
Would Have Allowing Killing of Stray Cats and Would Criminalize Caretakers
Earlier this month, the cats of Hawaii and the people caring for them were targeted by proposed misguided legislation. Senate Bill 2450 would have allowed for the indiscriminate killing of stray cats and would have criminalized individuals working to care and humanely manage the stray cat populations of Hawaii.
Supported by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the bill would make it illegal to “release, feed, water, or otherwise care for unrestrained predators.” The “predators” targeted here are the thousands of stray and feral cats of Hawaii. While free roaming cats do impact wildlife, in this case, they are being scapegoated, as a main factor in the species extinctions that have taken place throughout Hawaii.
The flaws in this proposed legislation are many. There are many other factors contributing to the species extinctions and threats, including human populations growth, forest degradation, urban sprawl, hunting, invasive species and global warming. Clearly, cats are not the only, or even primary, cause of extinctions on the islands.
The large populations of stray and feral cats should, however, also be addressed – not only for Hawaii’s wildlife, but for the health and well-being of these cats as well. Currently, organizations and individuals have been conducting Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programs and ensuring the cats receive food. Instead of supporting and increasing such programs and perhaps working to educate citizens on the importance of spaying and neutering, the DLNR would rather kill thousands of cats and make criminals out of those already working to humanely manage the stray cat population!
Indiscriminate killing of one species to save another, is not the answer.
Fortunately, the bill has been deferred. We will be watching, however, to ensure the same tactics aren’t added to other legislation or brought up at a later date.
Read more here.