Proposal Would Allow Federal Authorities to Hunt Invasive Species in Hawaii

Hawaii’s legislature is considering legislation that would allow federal officials to hunt feral animals in aerial hunts as part of that state’s effort to eradicate invasive species. Not surprisingly, animal rights activists are lining up to oppose the change.

Currently, the state already conducts 6-12 aerial hunts of wild pigs, goats, sheep, deer and cattle on state-owned and private land. But under state law, federal officials are not allowed to participate in such hunts unless the animals are near federal lands.

Cathy Goeggel, president of Animal Rights Hawaii, urged the legislature to defeat the measure, telling the Associated Press,

We know that Hawaii’s fragile environment faces many perils, most of them resulting from human occupation. We urge you to deny this carte blanche requested for the federal agencies to do anything they want to animals who have committed no crime and did not ask to be brought here.

But the problem here is that the invasive species that did not ask to be brought to Hawaii are causing major problems for the native species which is why environmentalists and groups like the Nature Conservancy have supported the proposal and the effort to eradicate invasive species.

Brian O’Connor notes a web page at Earlham College which does an excellent job of highlighting the problems posed by non-native species in Hawaii,

In Hawaii there is only two native species of mammals, the Hawaiian Hoary Bat (Lasirus cinereus semotus), and the Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi). The lack of native mammals leaves Hawaiian ecosystems very vulnerable, native species have not evolved defenses to the mammalian predators and herbivores that have been introduced in the last 300-1000 years. Therefore making native species very vulnerable to attack. Add on the warm tropical climate in Hawaii, lack of competitors and predators, and this archipelago provides an ideal habitat for nearly all introduced mammals to become established.

The full text of the bill can be read here.


Hunting bill is opposed by animal rights coalition. B. J. Reyes, Associated Press, February 9, 2004.

More Than 100 Protest Guam Carabao Cull

More than 100 people turned out in August at a U.S. Navy base in Santa Rita, Guam, to protest an ongoing cull of carabao that graze on property the Navy uses for munitions testing.

An estimated 300 carabao roam the Naval Ordinance Magazine, which the Navy contends presents environmental and health risks as well as limiting the ability of the Navy to use the area effectively.

In May 2003 the Navy began using sharpshooters to cull the carabao, and as of August had killed 63 of the animals.

Navy spokeswoman Lt. Thurraya Kent told the Pacific Daily news that the Navy does work with the Mayors Council of Guam and the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Wildlife Resources to support an adoption program for the animals,

The Navy is always in consultation with (Aquatic and Wildlife) to find the best method of reducing the population of the carabao. The population must be reduced for safety ad health concerns, and that won’t change, but today’s protest does remind us that people have strong views about it.

Cathy Goeggel of Animal Rights Hawaii wrote a letter to the Navy complaining that the shooting of the animal is not necessary,

Fish and Wildlife has a history of preferring lethal control of feral animals, and it appears that they Navy has chosen the quick and dirty response to what amounts to an inconvenience. We are not convinced that your decision is based upon sufficient evidence that the carabao are such a danger to the environment that they must be killed.


100 turn out to protest carabao culling. Katie Worth, Pacific Daily news, August 14, 2003.

Carabao Letters. Pacific Daily news, August 22, 2003.

Cathy Goeggel on Military Use of Animals

Animal Rights Hawaii activist Cathy Goeggel recently posted to an animal rights list a letter she wrote to the editor of The Honolulu Advertiser decrying the military use of animals such as dolphins and chickens. Lets have a look,

The Bush administration proudly proclaims that our military is all-volunteer. This is not true for animals that are unwilling conscripts in a war in which they have no interest.

During this war, the gas-detector chickens have all died — to be replaced with pigeons whose fate is unknown, but not promising. Dolphins and sea lions have been trained to detect mines and carry underwater cameras; they have also been trained to attack enemy personnel and even conduct suicide detonations of ordinance. They have no choice regarding their service. These animals have no enemies in this war. They have been placed in harm’s way just as horses, elephants, dogs and others have been used in battle over the ages and have died in the thousands.

In fact the U.S. Navy denies that it ever trained dolphins to attack either enemy personnel or ships, and reports that the Soviet Union had such a program also appear to be based largely on rumor and conjecture. Using a dolphin as a weapon would be awfully expensive when there are much cheaper and more reliable methods to destroy a target.

Those numbers pale, however, compared to those animals that suffer in Department of Defense laboratories (such as Tripler Army Medical Center) and biohazard facilities. Those animals receive absolutely no protection under federal or state law. They are shot, poisoned, vivisected, irradiated, deliberately exposed to disease and, when their usefulness is over, incinerated.

The Tripler Army Medical Center is a major hospital and research center in Hawaii. It hosts the only Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care accredit animal facility in the Pacific.

It has conducted research on everything from fetal alcohol syndrome to the safety of candidate vaccines for anthrax, and is the proposed site for a $150 million Biomedical Research Center.


Letter to the editor. Cathy Goeggel, Honolulu Advertiser, April 2003.

Report backs multi-agency research center at Tripler. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Press Release, May 14, 2001