Eject chickens from residential neighborhoods
Hawaii Kai residents have petitioned the City Council to take action in removing feral hens and roosters from their neighborhood.
Intimidated six years ago by cockfighting enthusiasts protesting a bill to ban roosters from residential neighborhoods, the City Council has hidden from the issue while the nuisance of loud cackling has grown. The Council needs to step up the effort to round up chickens on the loose and require that all farm creatures be kept on farms.
Residents of the marina near the Hawaii Kai Park & Ride have been putting up with the noise for years, using ear plugs or any muffling device available to withstand the noise in the middle of the night, but the problem extends from one end of Oahu to the other. The phone at the Royos Farm, contracted by the city to catch feral roosters and hens, rings constantly seven days a week, Pat and Jose Ramos told the Star-Bulletin's Ninu Wu.
More than a dozen Hawaii Kai residents have signed a petition asking the city to take action, but they shouldn't hold out hope. In 2002, the Council voted 5-4 to kill a proposal that would have banned roosters from residential areas. Since then, Councilman Charles Djou has proposed such a ban but has been ignored.
Since 2005, the Hawaii Game Breeders Association has been under contract to catch feral chickens at private residences, which does not cover the Hawaii Kai roosting area. In July, the contract was shifted to the Ramoses and boosted from $40,500 to $60,000 a year. Roosters and hens caught in the caged traps are given away to people.
Cockfighting, the illegal sport sponsored by the association's members, is a felony in most states, as Pat Ramos and other leaders of the association have successfully lobbied against elevating it from a misdemeanor in Hawaii. State legislators have been as timid as City Council members in dealing with the issue.
Pamela Burns, president of the Hawaiian Humane Society, has criticized the city for spending taxpayer money "to an organization whose sole purpose is to profit from an illegal sport in which roosters fight to the death with razor blades." The transfer of the contract from the association to prominent members is no less egregious.
Defenders of cockfighting claim it is part of Hispanic and Philippine "cultures." Actually, cockfighting was popular in Europe in the 16th century and probably was brought to the Philippines by colonizers from Spain. English and Irish settlers brought it to America about the same time but it has since been banned throughout most of the civilized world. The "culture" argument is lame.
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