A bill that would have provided a buffer zone between rooster farms and their neighbors died in a Hawaii County Council committee on Tuesday.
The bill needed to be sent to the county planning commissions for review since it would amend the zoning code, but Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara’s motion failed to get a second from another council member.
The council during a Planning Committee meeting heard from more than two dozen testifiers, mostly against the bill.
Opponents say its rules preventing roosters from being within 75 feet from property lines if there are more than four on a lot infringes on rural lifestyles. Some also objected to being lumped in with those participating in illegal cockfighting or said they felt that newcomers from the mainland were trying to tell them how to live.
Joleen Texeira said she moved to Hawaiian Paradise Park because it’s zoned for agriculture and she could raise animals. She said her lot is too narrow to allow her to have more than four roosters under the bill.
“Every breed needs its own rooster,” she said, adding that with the buffer, “I won’t have my chickens.”
Another testifier said raising roosters and other animals is part of a way of life.
“I feel like they are trying to tell us how to live in Hawaii,” he said.
Supporters, many of whom say they live near 50 to 100 roosters, say those who raise them also need to be mindful of their neighbors.
Cynthia Moore of Ainaloa said she wears headphones and earplugs to cancel the noise from a rooster farm behind her house.
“I cry when I come home to my house I love so much because I know there’s going to be thousands and thousands and thousands of rooster crows till it’s dark and then again I’m awoken every night,” she said.
Martha Morishige of Orchildand Estates said she uses a white noise machine to block out the crowing and has trouble renting property she owns in HPP because there are roosters next to that lot, too.
“I’m physically and emotionally affected by the noise of the birds,” said Morishige. She said the crowing wakes her up at 3 or 4 a.m.
Email Tom Callis at firstname.lastname@example.org.