Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, March 5, 2005

Bill to ban sale of cats, dogs for food dies in the House

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

The state House decided yesterday to shelve a bill that would have made it a felony to kill or sell dogs and cats for food. The issue arose last summer after news reports about a Wai'anae Coast man allegedly selling dog meat, but there was no evidence that the practice is widespread in Hawai'i.

One lawmaker, state Rep. Alex Sonson, D-35th (Waipahu, Crestview), has said that even bringing up the subject perpetuates harmful ethnic stereotypes.

But Rep. Glenn Wakai, D-31st (Salt Lake, Tripler), said: "I never had that thought when I introduced the bill. I am saddened that that issue came up because it was not my intention." He hopes to revive the bill next session, but said there are indications that it is happening.

"It's one of those things that people whisper about," Wakai said.

Although there are laws against cruelty to animals, it is legal for people to eat dogs and cats.

The Hawaiian Humane Society and animal rights groups wanted the Legislature to pass the bill to protect both pets and strays. "I'm disappointed," said Renita Chang, president of the Hawai'i Dog Foundation. She said she has only heard stories about people killing dogs and cats for food, but believes it is more common than people think.

"I don't think it's exaggerated at all," Chang said.

Reach Derrick DePledge at ddepledge@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8070.