Sunday, 19 May 2013

Happy hens of Haiku and the Boo Boo Zoo

Lindsay and I celebrated this past Earth Day by finally getting some backyard chickens in Haiku, HI. What could be better than combining composting, egg production, useless yardspace, and companionship!

In a typically Maui fashion, our hens are a bit strange, being rescue hens of unknown provenance from Maui's 'boo boo zoo'. The private animal rehab center for domestic animals is one of many controversial private animal sanctuaries, notorious for a strict no-kill-policy. Broken limbs, blindness, illness, no euthenasia whatsoever.

While such a policy is perhaps cruel, the greater tragedy is how large amounts of private money (often from one or two single rich donors) flows into so many dubious domestic animal sanctuaries, while programs targeted at endangered Hawaiian species go underfunded. Hawaii has lost the majority of its endemic species and more are on the way out. How great it would be if one or two rich Americans made it their 'pet cause' to fund the conservation efforts aimed at the Maui parrotbill (Only ~500 left) rather than rescuing species that are invasive and at zero risk of extiction.

Dispite good intentions, such suboptimal outcomes highlight the fallacy of the Libertarian (and American?) narative that we should facilitate rich people having more money through low taxation and let them reinvest the money into the economy as they see fit, rather than tax and use the resources for needed projects. The extremely rich just funnel scarce resources into crazy pet projects of dubious value.

BTW, volunteering / donating to the Maui Parrotbill project is very fun, even more fun than chickens, and extremely valuable. Check out