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Letters for Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Why do I still need a test?

I am currently off-island, finally able to see my children and grandchildren since I have been fully vaccinated.

I recently read that Governor Ige is “considering” a vaccination passport which could take effect on May 15; I return on May 5. Apparently, despite the vaccination and the certificate I have to prove it, I am required to spend $150 (in addition to my other travel expenses which have strained my set income) for a test in order to return home.

I find this unacceptable. The Safe Travels program has been repeatedly shown to be unreliable. Yet I, who have been vaccinated, cannot return home without going through this useless and expensive exercise.

It makes me wonder exactly who is profiting from the Safe Travels program.

Donna Carsten, Kapa‘a

Dismayed over humane society’s feral cat response

I was dismayed to read Kaua‘i Humane Society Executive Director Nicole Schafer Crane advocating trap, neuter, release (TNR) for managing feral cats on Kaua‘i.

The shelter’s priority appears to be its statistics rather than positive outcomes for all of Kaua‘i’s communities.

Why else would the shelter refuse to accept feral cats as part of their animal-control duties? This refusal leaves Kaua‘i’s birds dead and residents without options for unwanted feral cats on their property.

TNR keeps these cats roaming the landscape. Sterilized or not, feral cats continue to kill Kaua‘i’s native birds — species like moli (Laysan albatross), ‘alae ‘ula (Hawaiian gallinule), ‘a‘o (Newell’s shearwater) and Koloa (Hawaiian duck), to name a few — helping to drive these species further toward extinction.

But as Council Chair Kaneshiro noted, managing Kaua‘i’s feral cats is about more than protecting birds. It’s about protecting residents.

Not only does TNR burden communities with these unwanted cats, it puts people’s health at risk. For example, studies in Hawai‘i have found that feral cats, including those in TNR programs, excrete the parasite Toxoplasma gondii in their feces. This parasite can then infect birds and mammals — including people — causing the disease toxoplasmosis, which can lead to miscarriages, blindness and death in people, and has emerged as a major threat to Hawaiian monk seals.

Because of cats — and only cats — this parasite now contaminates Kaua‘i’s environment, including beach parks and harbors, putting people at risk.

TNR is irresponsible, and Kaua‘i’s residents and endangered birds deserve better — an animal-control provider that will remove feral cats rather than support their re-abandonment.

Grant Sizemore, director of invasive-species programs for the American Bird Conservancy

  1. Steven McMacken April 7, 2021 3:54 am Reply

    I love cats — as an indoor pet — as much as any owner does. But feral cats are an entirely different issue. Kauai, with its fragile ecosystem, is extremely vulnerable, and roaming feral cats are capable of doing enormous damage to native species. These cats need to be removed permanently from the island by whatever humane means necessary.

    1. Reality Bites April 8, 2021 1:59 am Reply

      “Removed permanently from the island”?? Great in theory, but it you might as well call it “Kill and Bury” (KNB). The problem will come back, because you have not addressed the root cause.

      The “Culture” on this island supports un-neutered cats and dogs running around and breeding. Few, with the exception of the hated “rich” transplants, keep their pets inside their house, or in their fenced in yard. The “problem children” on this island don’t care about animals getting pregnant, nor will they neuter a pet unless a KHS Truck pulls up to their front door and says their favorite word “FREE”. Only then do pets get neutered.

      All cats and dogs shipped to the island should be neutered. Our wonderful County Council should create a law requiring all pets be neutered, and enforce the law. You have a neutered pet, then “Here is a fine, and if you don’t pay twice, then let me introduce you to the fenced in property across from the golf course”. Accidents happen, but if your pet gets pregnant, then you get a fine if they continue to birth.

      It’s asymmetrical warfare. Just killing the animals does nothing here, or anywhere else on the planet. You have to attack this from multiple angles. At least the crazy cat ladies are trying with TNR. You can’t complain, then do nothing.

      1. Reality Bites April 8, 2021 2:01 am Reply

        “un-neutered” vice “neuter” pet, then…..

      2. Steven McMacken April 9, 2021 4:02 am Reply

        By saying “remove permanently,” I was suggesting that in my ideal Kauai world there wouldn’t be ANY cats on the island. It’s really the only way the native species will survive. A neutered cat will kill as easily as an unneutered one but your suggestion of a law requiring all cats — and dogs — be neutered prior to being shipped to the island is a good start.

  2. Uncleaina April 7, 2021 6:23 am Reply

    Thanks for writing Grant! Exactly! On Kauai you DO have to choose protecting the cats or the endangered native birds/monk seals. Feral cats are PROVEN to wreck bird nesting sites, eat fledglings, and cause toxoplasmosis, a leading cause of death in monk seals. On the mainland, TNR works fine because there’s no endangered species. But not here. You’ll watch the birds go extinct at this rate. Tell KHS to have some kuleana and to google it, because they don’t seem to understand the problem.

  3. LTEreader April 7, 2021 9:33 am Reply

    There’s currently 7 COVID variants in the U.S. and it’s too early to tell IF vaccines prevent transmission of any, or all of these. Millions around the world want to visit with friends and family, but are still avoiding travel for now. Why? Because this pandemic is not over yet. It’s the smart, and respectful thing to do.
    You find the cost of a test unacceptable? What I find unacceptable is people who know what’s expected of them, travel anyway, then complain about what’s expected of them. And, the ones profiting from these tests are the residents of Kaua’i who may be spared from this virus, or variant that you could potentially bring back with you.

    Would you rather be overrun with mice and rats?
    “Rats have a gestation period of 21 to 23 days and will have five to 10 pups per litter. So two rats can multiply to almost 500 million rodents in just three years if breeding conditions remain ideal.”
    “Rats are considered as carriers or transmitters of more human diseases than any other life form, except maybe the mosquito. More than 15,000 rat bites are reported each year in the United States. All rat bites should be treated by a doctor. Some of the diseases that can be spread from rats to people are bubonic and pneumonic plague, murine typhus, salmonella, leptospirosis, Hantavirus, and tularemia.”
    “Rats can smell cats. Cats naturally produce a chemical release that terrifies rats and mice. Feral ratter programs implemented in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C. have all seen success. In LA feral cats have been strategically placed in high-trafficked rodent areas. Mice were killed, and rats were run off to other locations when the feral cats were introduced to the area. The lesson we can learn is that feral cats can improve the situation when placed in areas that have rodent problems.”

  4. Kaaona Kipuka April 7, 2021 1:04 pm Reply

    Poor thing huh Donna….I’m pretty sure you were aware of this “useless, expensive exercise” prior to leaving…But chose to leave the island anyway, so there you go…Deal with it or don’t come back…

  5. truth be known April 14, 2021 6:40 pm Reply

    The same test that costs $150.00 here in Kauai can be had in the UK for 60 pounds ($82.62).
    The difference is pure greed! If our government wanted to do something useful for a change, they should require all tests be done at a reasonable price, commensurate with areas that actually have competition. Donna’s right, the tests are prohibitively expensive, unless you are Kaaona Kipuka or LTEreader of course, who are probably invested in the testing clinic.

  6. LTEreader April 15, 2021 8:07 am Reply

    RE: truth be known…
    Am guessing, per the usual, you didn’t take time to see what other States are charging. Here’s a sampling for you as of 3/15/21:

    Nashville, Tennessee. Results in 30 to 45 minutes. Cost: $250.
    Jersey City, New Jersey. Results in an hour or less only for travelers who need documentation. Cost: $250.
    Las Vegas, Nevada. Results in 24 hours. Cost: $299.
    New York City, New York. Same-day results. Cost: $225.
    Exton, Pennsylvania (35 minutes from Philadelphia). Offers tests for travelers with same-day turnaround. Cost: $200.
    San Diego, California. Offers mobile RT-PCR testing for travel. Cost: $199 for 2-3 day turnaround, $249 for 24-hour turnaround, $349 for same day, immediate results.
    Scottsdale, Arizona. Offers same-day RT-PCR testing. Cost: $300.

    Drops mic and walks away shaking my head at keyboard warriors like you, who don’t bother with any research before posting ludicrous comments.

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