Young Brothers’ livestock shipping changes raise concerns
HTH: … Proposed changes to livestock shipping procedures by interisland ocean shipper Young Brothers have some concerned that all but the largest ranchers might be priced out of the market.
Those affected, according to testifiers at a state Public Utilities Commission conference Feb. 4 in Honolulu, include those who ship less than a container load of cattle, those who ship smaller animals such as sheep, goats and swine, and those who ship only one animal at a time, such as high school rodeo athletes.
The proposed changes come amid PUC consideration of the shipper’s request for a 34% increase in shipping rates.
Starting April 1, those changes include a decision by Young Brothers to only ship livestock in 20- and 40-foot certified livestock containers and trailers, and the shipper will stop transporting animals in wooden crates called box stalls. And effective as of Feb. 1, the company eliminated the transfer at the dock of livestock into containers.
A Young Brothers document also said it will no longer store livestock containers at its facilities, and any privately owned containers at Hawaii ports have to be moved by April 1.
Keith Kiyotoki, Young Brothers sales and marketing manager, said livestock shipping represents “under 1% of our total revenue.” …
Kea Among, who owns Kea’s Horse Trailering Service on Oahu, testified she and other stakeholders weren’t included in the Jan. 31 meeting. She said Young Brothers is “the only game in town” for Neighbor Island high school rodeo athletes to get their horses to the state finals.
“They work so hard all year long, and then, for them go to state finals and have to pay an arm and a leg, they can’t do it,” Among said.
Maui rancher Brendan Balthazar said the cost for those who have to trade box-stall crates for certified containers and trailers will be “astronomical.”
“All of those trailers … are going to have to be retrofitted,” he said. “The rule changes changes the cost of shipping.”
Hawaii County Councilman Tim Richards of Kohala, a veterinarian and rancher who chairs the council’s Committee on Agriculture, Water, Energy and Environmental Management, said he’s concerned about “orphan commodities that we still have to move.”
“We’ve got to pay attention to the little guy that doesn’t have enough to fill a full container, or cowtainer, as it might be,” Richards said….
According to the shipper, the proposed changes are necessary for the animals’ and dock workers’ safety. There have been livestock deaths, and workers have been injured in dock accidents involving livestock.
There also was an incident in November in which 20 cattle died at sea.
Another driver of the change, according to Young Brothers, is compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. The state Department of Transportation’s Harbors Division is bound by a consent decree reached with the Environmental Protection Agency in 2014 following a massive molasses spill at Honolulu Harbor in 2013.
In addition, Young Brothers anticipates losing space at its Honolulu pier facility when phase two of construction of the Kapalama Container Terminal beings in October, and because of “aging asphalt conditions” at Piers 39 and 40.
Young Brothers President Jay Ana told commissioners the changes “were intended as a proposal to address concerns related to safety, balanced against our customers’ needs.”
“What’s triggering this now is the loss of life as a result of … the 20 lost cattle (in November), re-evaluating our processes as a result of that, and communication that we are going to be losing pier space,” Ana said. “Those two events are what’s really driving the sense of urgency.”…
read … Young Brothers’ livestock shipping changes raise concerns
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NEW RULES WOULD PROTECT FARM ANIMALS TRANSPORTED BY SEA IN HAWAII
From Animal Welfare Institute, February 19, 2020
Honolulu, HI—Following the recent deaths of 21 pregnant cows on a barge traveling from Oahu to Kauai, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) formally committed last week to adopting regulations to better protect farm animals on sea vessels traveling to, from, and between the Hawaiian Islands. The HDOA’s commitment comes on the heels of the state legislature introducing companion bills SB2715 and HB1898, which would have required the department to promulgate regulations for the care of animals shipped by sea.
The HDOA, working with local carriers Matson and Young Brothers, representatives from the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, veterinarians, and other industry experts, plans to enact administrative rules within two years that include care and transport provisions mirroring federal animal export standards. The proposed regulations – slated to go into effect following a period of public comment and statewide hearings – would prevent noncompliant shippers from shipping their animals.
“The 21 cattle trapped on that barge deserved to be treated humanely,” said Erin Sutherland, farm animal welfare attorney for the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). “This tragedy could have easily been prevented had Young Brothers abided by proper care, training, and handling requirements. We commend the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for moving to set care and transport standards for the thousands of farm animals – primarily cattle – who are shipped to the mainland and between islands each year.”
“I’m pleased that the Department of Agriculture made a commitment to updating their administrative rules to ensure better care of livestock who are transported on ships,” said state Sen. Mike Gabbard (D-Kapolei-Makakilo), who introduced the measure. “This is the right thing to do!”
Young Brothers, which transports animals between the islands, told Hawaii News Now that it takes its responsibility as a livestock carrier seriously, and works with the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council to develop protocols for the shipment of animals. Matson, which transports animals between the mainland and Hawaii, told AWI representatives that it complies with federal regulations governing the export of animals. Nevertheless, AWI encourages both shippers to improve the care of animals in transit while the HDOA works to develop new regulations.
Animals shipped from Hawaii to the mainland face journeys of more than 2,000 miles, and they deserve higher standards of care. Even animals involved in shorter trips often endure needless suffering. The HDOA’s new rules aim to ensure that these animals do not suffer or die from preventable causes.
SB2715 (Deferred) and HB1898 (Deferred)