The Hawaii House of Representative’s Energy and Environmental Protection Committee is considering two bills, House Bill 606 and House Bill 904, which could potentially allow cats and countless other animals to be rounded up and killed. Hawaii has taken the unusual and aggressive stance of labeling cats as invasive species. HB 606 would give to each county in Hawaii the right to send employees onto private property—with or without a property owner’s consent—to “control or eradicate invasive species.” HB 904 establishes an “invasive species rapid response fund” for killing invasive species threats in the state.
Rounding up animals that are deemed undesirable is costly and cruel. In the case of cats, history has shown that new cats move in and repopulate areas from which cats were caught and killed. Killing one species to protect another doesn’t work. We must speak up and tell the Committee that we don’t support killing animals under the pretext of conservation. We oppose this waste of money and needless taking of life.
Spaying and neutering is the only effective and humane approach for community cats. Removing cats from an area and killing them is cruel and pointless, as new cats quickly move into the empty territory and repopulate. This phenomenon is known as the “vacuum effect.” These bills could potentially give the government free reign to enter anyone’s property and needlessly kill whichever animals they view as invasive. Unless action is taken, this will almost certainly include cats. The government has yet to make a sufficient case that killing any of these animals will help to achieve its conservation goals.
There are many organizations and individuals performing Trap-Neuter-Return in Hawaii. Please help protect them, their good work, and the cats they care for, from these bills.