Hawaii councilor withdraws ‘sentient’ animals initiative

HILO (AP) — A Big Island councilwoman introduced a resolution this week to recognize animals as “sentient beings,” but quickly withdrew it because of a lack of support. Puna councilwoman Eileen O’Hara says she wanted to “set the tone” for how the county deals with animal welfare, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday. Other council members say they support humane treatment of animals but were uncomfortable with language in the measure giving animals rights. Kohala Councilman Tim Richards, who is a veterinarian, says the county would be getting itself into a “quagmire” if it gives animals the proposed rights. O’Hara told the Tribune-Herald that the measure was in part intended to influence the county’s next animal control contract. O’Hara said she will change the wording based on feedback from her colleagues.