After receiving oral and written testimony from AWI, the Hawaii Board of Agriculture voted to approve regulations to protect cattle, sheep, and goats transported via sea vessel between the state’s islands. In May, AWI—joined by nine other animal protection organizations, including five in Hawaii—submitted comments to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) advocating regulations to make sure animals slated for journeys are fit to travel, provided food and water for long journeys, given adequate ventilation within transport containers, and protected from heat stress during staging and travel times.
The HDOA incorporated many, but not all, of our recommendations. The rules now require that containers holding animals be placed in areas that allow the greatest access to ventilation to limit their exposure to heat and stress. The rules also restrict the number of animals per container and prohibit injured, ill, lame, blind, or late-stage-pregnant animals from being transported. Had they been enacted earlier, these rules could have prevented the suffocation of 21 cattle on a barge en route from Honolulu to Kauai in December 2019. The rules go into effect once signed by the governor.