HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Among the animal related issues being debated at the State Capitol now are banning the sale of ivory and dog and cat meat. Animal advocates were out in force at the State Capitol today lobbying their causes.
It's not difficult to find ivory in Honolulu. We found ivory necklaces going for as much as $1,500 and a pair of ivory statues a foot tall selling for nearly $7,000.
"Consumers don't know that they may even be purchasing illegal ivory and in doing so supporting the massacre of these elephants," said Inga Gibson, Humane Society of the United States.
If the ivory was imported before 1989 it can be legally sold. Trouble is it's next to impossible for a consumer to know for sure. According to the Humane Society of the United States Hawaii is the second largest retailer of ivory in the country, behind only New York. House Bill 2183 would make selling ivory illegal in Hawaii. However if you already have a piece of ivory jewelry you would be able to keep it, you just couldn't resell it.
"Ivory comes from dead elephants. That's the only way you get ivory," said Victoria Anderson, Ph.D., UH Manoa Professor.
Advocates say an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory and in 15 years there won't be any elephants left.
"They're just wonderful creatures and I would be really really sad to live in a world that didn't have elephants in it," said Prof. Anderson. "I would hate for future generations to not even know what elephants are."
They're also pushing to make the possession of dog and cat meat for human consumption against the law, which it's not. It's an issue that has failed to pass the last seven years.
"This year however people have really focused in on the dog and cat issue," said State Representative Jessica Wooley, (D) Kaneohe, Heeia, Kahaluu.
"There really is kind of an underground trade that exists to this day," said Gibson. "It's really impossible after the animal has been slaughtered to determine the method of death, whether it meets the criteria for animal cruelty."
Right now people need to be caught in the act of slaughtering the animal.
"By making it a violation for the possession of that meat for human consumption we can get to the violators," said Rep. Wooley.
"Anybody's culture should not be allowed to be treating living creatures inhumanely," said Ginny Tiu, animal advocate.
This Valentine's Day they were pushing lawmakers to show some love for animals.