The authority in Hawaii, which is concerned with managing the state’s public land, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, have decided that the feeding of feral cats at the state’s harbors is prohibited from last Friday, so reports Hawaii News Now.
This is the beginning of a campaign against feral cats in Hawaii. People against feral cats say that the feral cat population is out of control at Hawaii’s harbors and Keehi Small Boat Harbor is referred to as a particularly bad case where there are believed to be 150 feral cats, an increase of 50 in a single month.
The long-term intention is to get rid of feral cats in Hawaii and therefore it appears that after January 1, 2019 there will be other rules in place which allow the authorities to “destroy the predators”. In the meantime animal advocates have an opportunity to put forward alternative measures including relocation.
A spokesperson for the fishermen of Hawaii said that there is a health issue caused by the feral cats and they want rid of them. The spokeswoman referred to urine, faeces and lots of flies as health issues.
During an extended meeting on the topic of how to deal with feral cats in the state, and I presume particularly at its small boat harbors, cat and animal advocates said that the non-feeding measure was inhumane. Alternative proposals are extensive TNR programs which are considered by almost everyone to be humane. However, the authorities appear to consider these to be too slow in implementation. It takes a long time for effective TNR to reduce the population size of feral cats. The government clearly wants to work faster.
“We need to put more attention as far as the harbor cats, taking care, letting the feral cat caretakers take care of them, manage the colonies, entrapment and release,” said Robin Swanson, a ferl cat advocate and someone who feeds them.
Those who violate the non-feeding of feral cats regulation could be fined up to $1000. Although the regulations have to be approved by the governor (I’m not sure how this squares up with the fact that the rules are already in place).
In defence of the rule change, the authorities say that it is not about killing cats. It is about having clean and healthy harbors and public places. Comment: unfortunately the rules are about killing cats because not feeding them is likely to cause some deaths and as mentioned above in the long term the plan is to get rid of them entirely.
I wrote on this subject some time ago. There has been quite a long discussion about feral cat killing birds on Hawaii and how to prevent this.