The state of Hawaii’s House Committee on Agriculture recently advanced a bill that would ban the consumption of any animals that can be kept as pets, including cats and dogs.
Although consuming cats and dogs is not a widespread cultural practice throughout Hawaii, it has occurred often enough to encourage a group of protesters to visit the state’s legislative session in order to request a new bill be drafted.
The bill was initially brought to fruition by the Humane Society’s Hawaiian branch, which claims, according to the NY Post, that it receives “at least two reports each year of dogs or cats being slaughtered for food."
Inga Gibson, senior state director for the Humane Society, explained that there is no specific legislation that the organization can use to prosecute individuals after receiving these reports.
“When we do get these reports of cases of dog or cat slaughter, unless they’re caught in the act, law enforcement is not able to really prosecute,” Gibson said.
There is, however, existing legislation currently in place regarding the slaughter of pets. Rep. Jessica Wooley, House Agriculture Committee chairwoman, explained that it’s the wording and intent of that legislation that makes prosecution difficult.
“There are cases every year, and they’re not able to prosecute fully because of the way the law is currently written,” Wooley said, the San Antonio Express reports.
Because cultures and individuals treat animals with varying degrees of respect, there are widely differing opinions regarding the consumption of specific animals throughout the world. Whether or not a certain type of animal should or should not be slaughtered for consumption is a moral debate with no easy answer, but Hawaii’s legislative body will soon decide whether it believes animals that can be kept as pets can also be eaten under the jurisdiction of the law.