Ranch looks at policies
after deaths of 49 cattle

A lack of water killed animals
transported to Parker Ranch

WAIMEA, Hawaii >> Parker Ranch is reviewing its cattle-handling procedures following the deaths of 49 cattle from lack of water last month, said spokeswoman Diane Quitiquit.

Ranch hands found 32 dead animals and 17 others dying on July 29, about a week after the cattle were delivered to a corral at Keamuku south of Waimea on July 21. The animals had been transported by a contracted trucker from a site in North Kohala.

The transport procedure in effect at the time did not designate a specific employee to check on the animals when they were delivered.

Quitiquit said a new procedure for transferring cattle places a greater emphasis on assuring that specific employees handle paperwork at the beginning and end of the transfer process.

The ranch has a policy of not releasing information that might identify specific employees, Quitiquit said. But she confirmed that the ranch hand who might have cared for the animals at the Keamuku corral was absent because he was called away to military service.

"We need to make a commitment to our employees that we will strive to find a way to make sure that this doesn't happen again," she said.

Parker Ranch had similar deaths in the past. During a drought in 1998, about 200 cattle died, Waimea veterinarian Billy Bergin said in 2000.

The number of cowboys at the ranch has fallen to the current 12 from 25 in 2002, Quitiquit said. The ranch also has reduced the number of support personnel, such as mechanics and truck drivers.

The ranch has made up for the smaller number of employees by cattle management techniques such as intensive grazing and by bringing in specialized help on a temporary basis, Quitiquit said.

The 175,000-acre ranch owns about 25,000 cattle on its lands and 10,000 at feedlots on the mainland, she said.

Parker Ranch


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