10/02/2017 12:27PM

Feed, supplies delivered for horses in hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico

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A plane carrying feed and veterinary supplies intended for horses at the heavily damaged Camarero Race Track in Puerto Rico landed on the island’s main airport in San Juan this morning, according to the organizers of the shipment.

The plane was carrying nearly 20 tons of hay, medicine, veterinary supplies, and two satellite phones to assist in the efforts to transport the supplies to Camarero, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria nearly two weeks ago. There are approximately 800 horses at the racetrack, and officials have said that the horses are facing dire conditions.

“There were many, many challenges but we are thrilled to see feed and vet supplies finally reaching the horses in Puerto Rico,” said Erin Crady, the executive director of Thoroughbred Charities of America, one of the many organizations that assisted in the effort. “This effort would not have been possible without the incredible teamwork and support of so many organizations and people working tirelessly to get this plane into Puerto Rico.”

Organizers began attempting to get a shipment of supplies to the island shortly after the hurricane struck the island. However, the efforts have been complicated by the massive scale of destruction to the island and the need to deliver supplies for humanitarian efforts, according to officials.

According to the organizers, there are nearly 1,500 Thoroughbreds and “thousands of others horses” on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which were also heavily damaged by the hurricane. The group said that they are evaluating options to transport some horses to the U.S. mainland.

In addition, five shipping containers of supplies have been loaded on a ship that is set to arrive at the island on Friday, the organizers said.

Funding for the Swift Air plane was provided by The Jockey Club and TCA’s Horses First Fund. Among the other organizations assisting in the effort was the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Brookledge’s Horse America, Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, the Texas Veterinary Association, and Ranch Aid, an organization appointed by the Federal Emergency Management Association to provide assistance to large animals during natural disasters. The Humane Society of the U.S. also assisted by facilitating the federal approval of the shipment.

Other organizations and individuals providing assistance for the effort included MVI Animal Health; a south Florida veterinary practice, Teigland, Franklin, and Brooken; Cargill/Nutrena; Ocala Breeders’ Sales; and Florida breeder Kim Heath.

The organizers urged that donors continue to support the AAEP Foundation, Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, and the Horses First Fund at the TCA.