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SPECIAL EDITION FOR THE HORSE INDUSTRY: MAY 15 IS ANIMAL DISASTER PREPAREDNESS DAY
What's in this issue? What would you do for horses in your care in the event of a sudden disaster, such as a tornado, flood, earthquake, or act of war? Hoofcare & Lameness joins with countless animal welfare organizations and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to urge you to think about it -- RIGHT NOW! May 15 has been named Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, as part of May being Disaster Awareness Month. I hope the information in this newsletter will be interesting and valuable to you. Wherever possible, I have included links and site addresses to further information available on the Internet. ....And remember that it is best to think of disasters not in terms of if they happen to you, but WHEN it will happen. Just ask someone who has survived a disaster.
HORSES AND REFUGEES IN KOSOVO: WSPA REPORTS
The heartbreaking news reports of the plight of refugees in the Balkans has an equine side, of course. Kosovo is a very poor country, one where a horse is a highly valued possession. Many horses have been shot, while many others have been abandoned or turned loose by fleeing refugees. A few valiant ones have literally pulled their owners from the disaster.
Hoofcare & Lameness has been in touch with the wonderful people at the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA or Wis-pah), since they have an office near us in Boston, and frankly, they called us first, to order a copy of a new book on animal disaster management (featured later in this newsletter). This is a long-established international organization affiliated with the United Nations and you can be sure that they will be on hand to help animals of all kinds in and around the war zone, no matter which side of the war the animals owners are on. WSPA maintains a superb web site that is continually updated with news of interest to anyone involved with animals.
WSPAs representative told Hoofcare & Lameness that the chaos in the Balkans is making it impossible to rescue many animals there, but that an affiliated office in Budapest, Hungary is serving as a local information point. Like all of us, the WSPA spokesman hopes that the conflict will be short-lived and that the refugees will be able to return home. At that time, WSPA would initiate a rescue program to treat or replace wounded livestock.
A WSPA report stated that the country is so poor that there are relatively few companion pets, such as dogs and cats. Much of a familys wealth is in its livestock. Sadly, when the refugees arrive at the camps, they are separated from their horses, and not much information is available about any relief care for the horses or attempts to maintain identification links between horses and owners.
A short report in the British weekly newsmagazine Horse & Hound concurred that little formal relief effort had been undertaken, compared to the 1991 overland sprint of the International League for the Protection of Horses, which rescued many Lippizan horses from Bosnia during the recent conflict there. Lets hope that the relatively low dollar value of the farm horses in Kozovo will not be used against them. Please note: if you would like to visit the WSPA site and read about the Kosovo crisis, be warned that the description is quite graphic and might be upsetting to children.
For an update on animals in Kosovo, visit the WSPA web site: http://www.wspa.org.uk/news.html
(At the same web site you can read about the treatment of 10,000 rescued animals by WSPA in Honduras in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. WSPA has a new videotape on animal management during hurricanes, which is currently being shown on TV in the Caribbean.)
Did you know....that the City of Los Angeles has a 24-hour Equine Emergency Response Team?
What about Y2K? What will it mean to horses?
Y2K may be the biggest planned-for disaster ever. It reminds me of an old saying, Of all our troubles big and small, the worst are the ones that dont happen at all. I think is more likely that we will be affected by a sudden natural disaster than a planned-for Apocalypse caused by computers, but maybe I dont read enough science fiction. If Y2K is a potential problem in your location, start planning now with friends and neighbors how problems with loss of water and electricity, and possible shortages of feed and hay and gasoline, will affect your horse management. Plan ahead, and stock up on supplies, particularly feed, medications, first aid supplies, and batteries. Farriers should anticipate possible gasoline shortages and supply delivery delays, if Y2K goes haywire.
Y2K Disaster Prevention Information: http://www.cassandraproject.org
Animal Disaster Information Related to Y2K from United Animal Nations: http://www.uan.org
What about the danger of fire?
Fire is the first problem that comes to most peoples minds when they think of a disaster involving horses. Weve all heard the horrific stories of horses instinctual responses to fire, and many people think of horses as being unable to survive a barn fire. In reality, a horse CAN survive a barn fire....if the barn has been organized with effective fire alarms and easy escape in mind, and is kept clean and free of obstacles.
An important part of fire prevention is working with your local police and fire departments to make sure that the staff has proper training in barn fires and horse evacuation. A local horsemens group is an excellent vehicle for this relationship, and many fire departments are willing to have an annual evacuation drill at a local horse farm to familiarize staff with horse handling, behavior, and simple lessons like how gates and latches work.
Farriers should use extreme care in the use of grinders and welding torches, and maintain their propane tanks, hoses, and forges. Trucks should be equipped with fire extinguishers that can be used on engine fires, electrical fires, and grass or wood fires.
Some farrier organizations, such as the Southern New England Farriers Association, have initiated non-compulsory truck inspections, where safety equipment is carefully checked.
Beyond normal barn fires caused by wiring or hay storage problems, wildfires and forest fires are another cause for concern. I ride my horse regularly through a forest that was burned four years ago, and I am also chilled by how close the burn came to barns where horses are kept. I know I will never forget those hot, dry days when the fire burned and the air was filled with ashes. Burning cinders landed on lawns and rooftops a mile from the fire.
Think about it, and talk about it with your neighbors.
The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California/Davis is a leading institution in the study of disasters involving horses, and has excellent information available.
UC/Davis Center for Equine Health Horses and Disaster information: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ceh
Good sources of disaster planning information on the Internet:
Horse Review Animal Disaster Directory
Southern Pines Equine Associates and Moore County Evacuation Plan
Humane Society of the US disaster planning web site:
Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS)
Did you know.... A 1997 survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association showed that only 24 states in the US have emergency/disaster programs with veterinary organizations in place. Consequently, the AVMA set up four Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams to help veterinarians overwhelmed by disasters in their regions. Also the American Veterinary Medical Foundation has established a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to help disaster areas cover veterinary expenses.
TORNADO DISASTER AFTERMATH IN OKLAHOMA
--The ASPCA has set up a fund for animal relief efforts in Oklahoma and Kansas in the US following severe tornadoes early in May. Contributions may be sent to ASPCA Disaster Relief Fund, 424 E 92nd St., New York, NY 10128, or visit http://www.aspca.org/oklah.htm
--The Humane Society of the US sent a team of 13 workers to distribute food for pets and livestock and help with rescue efforts. Most of their work is in efforts like trapping cats and disposing of dead pets. One of their reports includes the memo: ...in Del City, our team loaded up dead horses for disposal.....We received a request for feed for 25 horses...
--According to Becky Mahoney of Oklahoma Horse Magazine, tornado victim horses are being housed at at least one farm, Celestial Acres, and are being treated by volunteer veterinarians. Statistics and facts are in short supply, even 10 days after the storms hit.
A tragic aftermath of the tornado disaster in Oklahoma may be behavior-related. Animals have long memories when traumatized, and may have abnormal reactions to certain stimuli for the rest of their lives. Dr. Nicholas Dodman of the Tufts University College of Veterinary Medicine has done interesting projects related to treating horses that are afraid of thunderstorms. Lets hope his research findings and treatments get to practitioners treating storm-tossed horses with long memories.
Speaking Out About Disasters
Looking for an expert on animal disaster planning or prevention to speak at a meeting? Here are a few sources to contact:
National Equine Safety Association (1.800.643.3760) Sebastian Health, American Academy of Veterinary Disaster Medicine, West Lafayette, IN American Veterinary Medical Association, Lyle Vogel DVM, emergency preparedness director Richard Mansmann DVM, Apex, North Carolina (919.557.3071) Terri Crisp, Emergency Animal Rescue Service, Sacramento, CA (916 429 2457) Steve Dickstein, Disaster Dept. Humane Society of the US (202 452 1100) City of Los Angeles Equine Emergency Response Team (fax 213 893 8406)
BOOKS ON ANIMAL DISASTER PLANNING
Veterinary Disaster Team Resource Development Guide (published May 1999) by Boge, available from Hoofcare & Lameness for $19.95 plus $5 postage.
Animal Management in Disasters (published April 1999) by Sebastian Heath (320 pages, soft cover, oversized) available from Hoofcare & Lameness for $45 plus $6 postage. Chapters of interest include: Myths and Realities, Weather, Hurricanes, Flood, Earthquakes, Droughts and Heat, Fires, Hazardous Materials, Businesses Related to Animals, Management of Animals and Owners (major part of the book) plus 20 appendices including state laws in USA. The chapter on horse management is very good, with comparative risk factors of different types of stabling and survival rates of blanketed vs bare horses.
Farm & Ranch Disaster Planning Guide: Book 1
What Do I Do With My Horse in Fire, Flood, and/or Earthquake
Disaster Relief: Designing A Disaster Plan For Your Community:
So, friends out there, take an hour out of your day and get on the web. Visit sites, print out or download information and then do something about it. Make a plan, talk to your family and people who are close to your horses. Determine what your weaknesses are, and start doing something about it.
About H&L Publishing.... Hoofcare & Lameness, The Journal of Equine Foot Science, is a professional journal of technical information related to the prevention and therapy of performance-related injuries, conformational challenges, and diseases of the foot that affect the world's horses. Published since 1985, H&L is read by veterinarians, farriers, therapists, and owners/trainers/riders around the world and is the leading resource for the dissemination of new research, technologies, and ideas about the soundness of horses. H&L is published four times in each subscription period and is sold by subscription only. Cost is $50 in US, $55 in Canada and Mexico, $70 elsewhere in US dollars. An industry-wide "e-letter" called "Hoofcare Online" is sent free of charge to anyone interested in reading news from the hoofcare industry. Hoofcare's Editorial Advisory Board includes: Robert Bowker DVM, Doug Butler PhD, Emil Carre, Hilary Clayton MRCVS, Bruce Daniels, David Duckett, David Farley, Paul Goodness, Alison Hayes, Kim Henneman DVM, David Hood DVM, Alice Johnson, Grant Moon, William Moyer DVM, Rob Sigafoos, Allen Smith PhD, Tracy Turner DVM, Michael Wildenstein, Janice Young DVM, Chris Pollitt MRCVS, Alan Bailey AWCF, Simon Curtis FWCF, Edward Martin FWCF, Jean-Marie Denoix DVM, Bernard Duvernay, and Osamu Aoki DVM. H&L's print and email publications are supplemented by a reference book/video resource center, and hoof science information archive on the Internet's World Wide Web at http://www.hoofcare.com.
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