Source: Thoroughbred Daily News
“Regardless of our views on horse racing we cannot turn a blind eye on these equines at risk, it is our calling!” ~ R.T.
In Saturday’s TDN we reported on the situation at Camarero Racetrack due to Hurricane Maria (click here to view the story). Shelley Blodgett, founder of the Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare Inc., wrote the following response to the TDN to further explain the severity of the situation and ask for help from the industry. Blodgett also sent all of the photos and graphics included.
I am Shelley Blodgett, co-founder of Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare Inc, a non-profit (501c3) that helps Thoroughbreds racing in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I think there is a story that needs to get out.
There are 864 U.S. Thoroughbreds (all Jockey Club registered) stabled at Hipodromo Camarero Racetrack in Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. The racetrack, including the barns, was heavily damaged during Hurricane Maria. Further, the horses cannot leave their stalls due to debris, downed fencing and flooding. They are standing in water, and there is NO clean water or hay. I was told that they are giving them some grain (presumably without water). No horses died during the storm, but some needed stitches and such.
I learned this from a brief phone call from CTA co-founder, Kelley Stobie (the call was disconnected). She is at the track seven days a week, working as an equine therapist. She toured the track and spoke with the backstretch supervisor, some owners, trainer and vets. She told me the situation is dire and there is no way to get needed water, hay and medical supplies right now.
There is more to the story, but I’ll leave it at that for now. I’ve attached some photos I managed to get from the La Escuelita Hípica (the Jockey School at the track); they help with the track horses and posted this and have commented on the situation. Kelley also has photos, but cannot get them to me.
More than half of the Thoroughbreds in Puerto Rico were bred in the States. I have a line graph of numbers for both Puerto Rican-bred and U.S.-bred. There are some good horses there, including 2012 GI Belmont S. runner and 2013 Maxxam Gold Cup winner Unstoppable U, as well as Arch Traveler (who was also on the Triple Crown trail early in his career) and Becky’s Kitten. We gathered data and determined that 1,500 people have a stake in the racing industry in Puerto Rico (see pie chart). Thus, these horses are essential to the well being of many people in Puerto Rico.
I do not believe that there has been any formal request by the Puerto Rican government to help the horses at that time, but I have been working to rattle the bushes and get things moving. I have spoken with a veterinarian, who is an equine disaster response specialist and on the National Veterinary Response Team, but they cannot help until there is an official request to FEMA from the Puerto Rican government official. Also, I’ve spoken with the Secretary of Agriculture for U.S.V.I., Carlos Robles, but he has not been able to make contact with his counterpart in Puerto Rico, though I know he has sent him an email.
There are about 200 Thoroughbreds in St. Croix, including race horses and breeding farms, and there are 40 Thoroughbreds racing in St. Thomas and many OTTBs in rescue/aftercare as well. Mr. Robles is assessing the situation in U.S.V.I. and trying to initiate needed federal help down there. I have tried calling all of the CTA board members, which include a prominent breeder, an equine veterinarian and an attorney, but all cell service is out. Further, I’ve called the Racetrack Administrator, Jose Maymo, but his cell phone isn’t in service.
We really need the racing industry and other equine organizations in the States to help urgently as there is little time to waste. These horses survived the storm, but are facing dehydration, starvation and risk of secondary health issues (e.g., colic, infection) due to the environmental hazards and lack of basic needs. These are U.S. horses. They do their jobs faithfully as racehorses and deserve better. They support the livelihood of many in the islands. Thank You.
Support from our good friends at Equine Advocates
Wild Horse Crisis!
Survival of America’s Wild Horses & Burros Threatened!
Horse Slaughter Crisis!
This Repulsive and Un-American Practice Could Return to U.S. Soil for the First Time Since 2007!
Both of these vital equine issues are now hanging like large clouds over our country where the vast majority of Americans disagree with what some politicians are trying to pull off to satisfy special interests in the ranching, oil & gas, mining and horse industries. The history of both issues are long and complicated.
For right now, however, we have a RED ALERT, so please take action now:
The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Stewart Amendment which would allow for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Department of Interior to kill 92,000 healthy Wild Horses and Burros. Most will end up being slaughtered. This is not only outrageous and barbaric, but goes directly against the will of 80% of the American People who want them preserved and protected. The Senate Interior Appropriations Committee can do the right thing and decide to prevent the killing of these animals when they hold a hearing on this matter during the week of September 18th.
- Please take the time to call your two U.S. Senators. You can reach them at this number: (202) 224-3121 which is the switchboard for the U.S. Senate.
- Please identify yourself, providing your name and address.
- Tell them that you want the protections of Wild Horses and Burros in the 2018 Spending Bill for the Department of the Interior to remain and prohibit the killing and slaughter of our Wild Horses and Burros.
- Also call the two leaders of the Interior Appropriations Sub-Committee, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and express the same sentiments to them.
There is no time to waste! Please act now! Thank you!
After you act, please read on:
- What we do know is that Americans do not want Wild and Domestic Equines slaughtered for food. We want a law banning horse slaughter and horse slaughterhouses from operating in the U.S. as well as banning the transport of any live equines from the U.S. across our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter or to any other country for that purpose.
- We want our Wild Horses and Burros preserved and protected. We want the round-ups to stop and we want the Wild Mustangs and Burros being held captive in holding facilities “managed” by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) turned back out on the range. We want the BLM dismantled and a new agency with real experts who can get together on ways to humanely manage and preserve these animals on the range to take over with a new approach that honors the will and sentiment of the vast majority of the American People on this issue.
However, right now, there exists a political climate in this country unlike anything we have seen in more than a decade. There are more horse slaughter proponents in the current administration assuming positions of power than ever before, including two Cabinet members, Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue.
In addition, Forrest Lucas, billionaire oilman (Lucas Oil; Lucas Oil Stadium), rancher, horse slaughter proponent, and founder of the anti-animal lobbying group, Protect the Harvest, has been given access to the executive branch and has used his influence to add horse slaughter proponents and those committed to the destruction of our Wild Horses and Burros to this administration. These are just three of many horse slaughter supporters, including Members of Congress, Governors and other elected and appointed officials working to take this country backwards and return horse slaughter to U.S. soil.
No Wild or Domestic Equine has been legally slaughtered in this country since 2007. There also have been many Scientific Studies and White Papers released since 2010 to further support the many reasons why horses should not be slaughtered for food. One is the 2010 landmark study on the serious health risks for people who eat the meat of equines treated with the common drug Phenylbutazone or “Bute” for short. Click here to read that study.
Another is the 2015 Chapman University Study documenting the presence of horse meat in some chopped meat products in the American food supply. Click here for this study.
On August 1, 2017, the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) issued a White Paper, the result of years of research. It exposes the corruption within the BLM and its shocking and deadly agenda for America’s Wild Horses and Burros.
The WHFF documents vast discrepancies in BLM records, including the numbers of horses in certain BLM holding facilities, the numbers captured, the ones that disappeared, as well as many discrepancies pertaining to financial matters, including the misappropriation of funds.
Please take the time to read this important WHFF White Paper and the Exhibits (exhibits are on a separate tab at the bottom of the page).
What More You Can Do:
- Please use these important documents and take them to your elected officials to illustrate why horse slaughter should be banned entirely and not allowed to return to the U.S. and why Wild Horses and Burros should be preserved and protected – and not destroyed which is the government’s agenda right now.
- Please use Equine Advocates’ Horse Slaughter Fact Sheet 2016 as a guide as well.
- It is imperative that you contact your members of Congress in the House of Representatives (we all have just one) and your two U.S. Senators as soon as possible (preferably during this month of September 2017) and let them know that you oppose the return of horse slaughter and that you want protections of Wild Horses and Burros restored and their sale to slaughter banned.
Please stay tuned as we provide updates and new developments about these two vital issues facing America’s horses. To receive our online alerts, please click here:
Time is of the essence!
Hayden & Nelson, rescued Wild American Mustangs residing at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY. Photo by Kara Heniges.
“It’s time to pause, dismount, loosen the cinch, pull off the headstall and bit, let your trail-buddy graze while you pull up a cool spot under a tree and sip on one of my homemade Wrangler Iced Teas…yes, it’s been a tough battle and the war is far from being won.
This next week is going to be a rough one so take a few minutes to sit back, reflect and recharge on why we do what we do. Whether you are lucky enough to live with equines or not, this video will give you pause and bring a tear to your eye.
I raise my drink in honor of all those I stand shoulder to shoulder with; we will win, we will save them, each and every one of them. May God bless you all! Cheers!” ~ R.T.
Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter
Starting Thursday morning GNFA is offering 350 stalls on a first come, first serve basis. No need to call ahead but have a back up plan should the facility reach capacity by the time you arrive.
There is on-site camping available for those sheltering a horse at the facility. Three bags of shavings per stall will be available at the time of move in, but owners will be responsible for feed, hay and tack to care for the animals. Local feed stores are available for those unable to bring necessary items. Evacuees are welcome until it is safe for you to return home.
“We hope that by offering these stalls to evacuees to house their animals, will help give them a sense of peace and security,” said Philip Gentry, the livestock and youth director at the Perry facility.
Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter
401 Larry Walker Pkwy. • Perry, Georgia • I-75 Exits 134 & 135
Georgia International Horse Park
Built for the 1996 Olympics, GIHP has become a regional mainstay for equestrian events in the South. While there are shows scheduled at the facility in coming weeks, there are stalls available for those evacuating Hurricane Irma. The GIHP is happy to offer help and asks that you call ahead for stabling 770-860-4190.
Georgia International Horse Park
1996 Centennial Olympic Parkway, Conyers, GA 30013, Conyers, GA 30013
The Georgia Department of Agriculture’s website provides a list of licensed stables accepting evacuations
Be Safe, Be Careful and Don’t Wait.
They started on foot, but as the rains let up, they’re bringing in the cavalry — the horse cavalry, that is.
The Texas Animal Health Commission, a state agency dedicated to protecting livestock and pets from natural disasters and disease, is assisting in Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. They are sending in their official cowboys to wrangle livestock and free trapped pets.
The agency’s cowboy rescuers, known as the Horseback Emergency Response Team, ride horses into disaster areas to aid in animal recovery efforts. Volunteers accompany them, wading into flood waters to rescue strays.
The NewsHour spoke with Thomas Swafford, public information officer for the Austin, Texas-based agency, about what his agency is doing to ensure the safety of pets and livestock amid the intense flooding in the region.
Seventy-four shelters in Texas accept evacuees with pets, while even more animal shelters are evacuating pets to shelters in other states to make room for lost or abandoned pets, according to the agency. For livestock that cannot be moved, the agency recommends owners cut a hole in any fencing to allow animals to seek higher ground. As hard as it may be for owners, these animal rescuers asked they not to stay with their pets in flooding situations, as it increases their chances of being trapped.
TAHC News: Hurricane Harvey Animal Response Efforts Underway
For more information contact the Public Information Dept. at 512-719-0750 or at email@example.com.For Immediate ReleaseAugust 30, 2017Hurricane Harvey Animal ResponseEfforts Underway
AUSTIN – When Governor Abbott declared a preemptive state of disaster for 30 counties in advance of Tropical Depression Harvey; the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) took the cue and accelerated preparations for what was predicted to be a major storm event. Under the State Emergency Management Plan, TAHC is the state’s coordinating agency for all disaster response issues related to animals, both large and small, including livestock, pets, and zoo animals. By the time Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday, August 25, the agency and its response partners were prepared for action.The storm proved to be even more severe than predicted, and TAHC quickly set up an Animal Response Operations Coordination Center (AROCC) at its headquarters in Austin. Through daily operations at the AROCC, TAHC is striving to meet animal related response needs by coordinating efforts of state, federal, industry, and non-governmental cooperators with an animal focus. The AROCC can be reached at 512-719-0799, or 800-550-8242, ext. 799. The AROCC connects with the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management, through agency State Operations Center (SOC) assigned personnel.TAHC has boots on the ground in some of the hardest hit areas of the state where local authorities have authorized entry, assessing animal issues resulting from Hurricane Harvey. Agency personnel deployed and continue to work with local disaster district committees, calling on resources to meet animal related needs locally whenever possible.
For animal issues related to Hurricane Harvey, owners should call their local animal control officer or their local emergency operations center for assistance.Strong winds and rising flood waters destroyed fences and displaced large numbers of livestock. TAHC is coordinating with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to establish livestock supply points in areas of critical need, and with Texas Department of Agriculture to receive and distribute donations of hay and livestock feed. TAHC requested the services of Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers (TSCRA) Special Rangers to assist in capturing stray livestock and returning them to rightful owners.The number of shelters available to receive animals is at 74 and growing as response efforts progress. In addition to pre-designated shelters, the TAHC has received numerous offers of sheltering space from livestock owners with pasture or barn space. With their permission, this information has been forwarded to the 2-1-1 operators and posted on our website at http://www.tahc.texas.gov/emergency/TAHC_SheltersHoldingFacilities.pdf.With the help of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care and non-governmental organizations, TAHC is supporting evacuation, sheltering, and care of companion and zoo animals. Many veterinarians and veterinary technicians have volunteered to provide care where needed. TAHC is compiling these resources and sharing information with emergency response centers and shelters.Updates will be provided as new information becomes available and assessment teams are able to report damages and needs for assistance.“Our hearts go out to all who are affected by Hurricane Harvey,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC Executive Director. “It is a tumultuous time in our State, but we are grateful for the support and resources our industry, government partners, non-governmental partners, and neighbors are providing.”Response Partners actively supporting the AROCC include: Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Independent Cattlemen’s Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Pork Producers, Texas Association of Dairymen, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers, Texas Poultry Federation, SPCA, Texas Department of Emergency Management, Texas Forest Service, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Veterinary Medical Association, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team, USDA – Farm Service Agency, and USDA – Wildlife Services.For the latest information on Hurricane Harvey animal response efforts, visit www.tahc.texas.gov.###
“The Water Just Kept on Coming…”
Sunday night with all but barn and house flooded, shot from garage video camera
My humble apologies for not being out and upfront about our status during the rising waters of Hurricane Harvey but we have had our own issues to deal with so energy was focused inward instead of out, for that I apologize.
All souls on our property are now safe and sound but others have not fared as well.
Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses emailed a photo of their barn under water while they rescue horses in Galveston County. Jerry, Terry and I rescued horses out of New Orleans after Katrina 12 years ago and Terry managed the animal rescue in Louisiana after Rita but Jerry reports that this was/is worse.
“This is far worse than Katrina. We can’t get more than a couple of miles away because of flooded roads. We need boats to rescue horses. Not kidding.”
We estimate between 16 – 20 ft of water in our back pastures with the water coming only inches from the house and barn but we are good, as it is receding but what is NOT good is that we have gotten a report that Marjorie Farabee, our Director of Wild Burro Affairs and Equine Manager for TMR, Inc. slipped on wet rocks and has broken her back. We are attempting to get the facts but her Facebook page seems to be the place to go for info.
There are a lot of folks out there who need help and the rescue of both humans and horses alike continue. We thank everyone for their concern and will keep you updated as time permits.
At 7575 North Sam Houston Parkway near Willowbrook Mall in northwest Houston sits the Sam Houston Race Park, a place where people go to bet on horses races that are simulcasted and take place on site. Many Houstonians have also visited the Race Park to see concerts at the track. But now, the Race Park has another function – it’s housing horses who needed safe stabling away from flooding.
Click2Houston.com writes that starting on Friday, the Race Track asked those who needed to drop off their horse to come to the gate and call for assistance. From there, security would help get the person’s horse set up in a stable (up to 100 are available). Water was provided by the Race Track, so horse owners just needed to bring “a stable gate, food, bedding, and buckets.”
Read the rest of this article HERE.