Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 3:35 PM
“PIG WARS”—COLLISION OF EXPERT AND LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
Public problems over environment, energy, health, and social policy have a distinct character that makes policy making problematic. On the Island of Hawaii, a case that many of us refer to as "The Pig Wars" started in 1992 when the State of Hawaii Department of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) built two stretches of pig-proof fence in the Kohala Mountains in the Pu'u o Umi
Natural Areas Reserve. One fence was a mile in length and was intended to protect a sensitive area between two steep cliffs from damage by feral animals. The other was a 1.5 mile first leg of an intended 1,500-acre exclosure. Both fences deeply alarmed local hunters, many of whom are Native Hawaiians. Angry complaints were voiced in the press. Letters and phone calls were made to local politicians. Portions of the fence were vandalized and Big Island DOAFW employees received death threats.
The confrontations that followed sprawled into the judicial, legislative, executive branches of government and pitted the science of wildlife biologists and conservation ecologists against the knowledge and local wisdom of Hawaiians and local non-Hawaiians. The joint negotiations and fact finding that also ensued show how good local and customary information ("Knowledge from Here") can be meshed with good scientific and technical information ("Knowledge from Away") and how both are needed to arrive at viable policy.