US Equestrian has agreed to participate in a joint fundraising and equine relief effort launched by Equestrian Canada, US Equestrian, the Pan American Equestrian Confederation (PAEC) and the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation to serve horses impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund has received remarkable support from the equine community with more than $400,000 raised to date in response to the devastation and flooding caused recently by Hurricane Harvey. “We are humbled by the generosity of our community, who have opened their hearts and wallets in support of those people and horses impacted by Harvey,” said Murray Kessler, President of US Equestrian. “Given the recent catastrophic events in Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and now Puerto Rico, we felt that it was incumbent on us to extend the appeal to address the needs of that region, too.”
The mission behind this vital new joint initiative is to save, protect, and care for the equine victims of these two massive hurricanes. “We intend to take direct action, as well as to partner with other animal/equine welfare organizations to deliver the most broad, effective, sustainable, and cost-effective response possible within our available funding,” stated Mark Samuel, Chair of FEI Group IV and Co-Organizer of the initiative, along with Eve Van den Bol, President of the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation. “We are calling upon our equine communities to come together and step forward, as they are able, in support of these horses and horse people in dire need. Time and finances are critical resources at this moment.”
Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria have devastated many of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean and denuded many of them of their natural vegetation. On several small Islands in the Caribbean, stables and barns have been completely destroyed. Many of the horses have lacerations and puncture wounds from flying objects or from the horses running into debris. Infections are rampant. Many horses are loose, with no access to security, comfort, shelter, or proper food. Their owners have lost everything.
On Barbuda, the local Humane Society has reported that “the situation on Barbuda is grim, much worse than photos and videos can depict. The vast majority of the animals are loose; horses and donkeys are on the landing strip; and dogs are naturally starting to pack, fight, and kill ruminants and pigs. Horses and dogs are being fed currently, but this will be difficult to maintain. A donation of feed for horses ... would be most welcome and will shortly become an urgent need."
In Tortola, British Virgin Islands, an owner of a riding school with 12 horses said that what remained of her barn littered the hillside and that if she actually had any horse feed left, she had nowhere to store it to keep it dry. According to one local vet, many of the horses at the local racetrack were loose or tied up to railings, as the stabling is gone, and there is an urgent request for horse feed.
US Equestrian, Equestrian Canada, the Pan American Equestrian Confederation (PAEC), and the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation (CIEF) have banded together and are jointly spearheading an effort to fund, source, and ship horse feed and vital equine medical supplies to those Caribbean islands that have been devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
One 40-foot container can feed about 40 to 50 horses for two to three weeks, but it costs as much as $15,000 to fill and ship each one, and almost every island affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria hashorses on it.
There is an urgent need for hay and feed, potable water, veterinary care, vet supplies, fencing, and portable stalls. The damage to buildings and infrastructure, meanwhile, will take years to repair. The horses on the USVI islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, on Puerto Rico, and on other islands are in grave need of help. While the human toll is massive, we cannot forget our equine partners, whose situation is also both dire and immediate.
Please consider a donation today in support of the USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund. Donations can be made through both US Equestrian and Equestrian Canada. One hundred percent of the money raised will go towards the cost of providing feed, medical supplies, and support to the many horses, ponies, and donkeys that are in need. The organizations expect to be working closely with the Humane Society International (www.hsi.org) and other equine welfare organizations as needed to provide support to efforts on the ground.
US residents, US credit card holders, or those eligible for a US tax receipt may donate via the US Equestrian Equine Relief Fund. US Equestrian is a 501(c)(3) organization, and donations will be tax-deductible for US tax purposes to the extent allowed by law.
Canadian residents and/or credit card holders may donate here via the Equestrian Canada website.
Thank you for your compassion and support.
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