The Caribbean Equine Relief Fund is a joint fundraising and equine relief effort launched by Equestrian Canada (EC), US Equestrian, the Pan American Equestrian Confederation (PAEC), and the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation to serve horses impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The group is also in contact with the FEI to see what can be done in the best interests of horse welfare in the region.
The mission behind this vital 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 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 track were loose or tied up to railings as the stabling is gone, and there is an urgent request for horse feed.
US Equestrian, EC, 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. The US had previously established an Equine Disaster Relief fund in response to Hurricane Harvey and they have now extended the appeal to join in this joint Caribbean Equine Relief effort.
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 have horses on them.
There is an urgent need for hay and feed, potable water, vet supplies, veterinary care, fencing and portable stalls. The damage to buildings and infrastructure meanwhile will take years to repair. The horses on St. Thomas, St. Croix, Puerto Rico, Tortola, Barbuda and other islands are in dire need of help. While the human toll is massive, we cannot forget our equine partners whose situation is both dire and immediate.
Please consider a donation today in support of the Caribbean Equine Relief Fund. Donation vehicles are available through both US Equestrian and EC. Both accounts serve the same fund, and 100% of the money raised will go towards the cost of providing feed and medical supplies to the horses, ponies and donkeys in the Caribbean that are in need. The organizations expect to be taking direct action as well as to be working closely with the Humane Society International (HIS) and other equine welfare organizations, as needed, to provide support to efforts on the ground.
Canadian residents and/or credit card holders may donate by visiting www.equestrian.ca/donate.
US residents, US credit card holders or those eligible for a US tax receipt may donate via the US Equestrian Equine Relief Fund page. US Equestrian is a 501(c)(3) and donations will be tax-deductible for US tax purposes to the extent allowed by law.