Moroccan Animal Hospital Recipient of Equine Ambulance Program

The Equine Centre at the MSPCA Nevins Farm, a pioneer in equine rescue and ambulance services, is expanding the reach of its services internationally. Recently, the Equine Centre, one of the nation’s only open-door shelters for horses and farm animals, sent a fully-equipped truck and rescue trailer to the American Fondouk Animal Hospital in Fez, Morocco.

The expansion of the ambulance program to Morocco marks the first time the Equine Centre has sent equipment outside North America. “Our program has benefited thousands of horses around New England and at sporting events around the country. We are very pleased to pitch in and help our colleagues across the sea by providing equipment and the knowledge we have developed over the past decade. The truck and trailer will truly be a life-saving tool for hundreds of animals,” said Joseph Silva, director, MSPCA Nevins Farm.

“Here in Morocco, the animals are so needy and the owners so poor, that even the simplest interventions can have a huge impact,” says Denys Frappier, DVM, Director of the American Fondouk. “It costs us just $3 on average to treat an animal at the Fondouk, but that $3 can literally save an animal’s life and a family’s livelihood.”

The American Fondouk was founded in the 1920s at the behest of Amy Bend Bishop. An American traveler, she became alarmed at the poor condition of the working animals she observed while in Morocco. At the time, Morocco’s horses, draft and pack animals were being worked hard by owners who often could not afford even the most rudimentary veterinary care.

Today, the American Fondouk, a charitable animal hospital, provides free veterinary care. At first, the majority of animals treated were critically ill, malnourished, or suffering from injuries brought on by overwork and inadequate care. Today, thanks to the dedication of the staff and the success of the humane education program, most animals come in for routine preventive care or treatment for ailments before they become life-threatening.

The Equine Centre has been a leader in equine rescue and emergency transportation services since 1994. Its equine ambulance service—one of the first in the country —now assists hundreds of horses each year through its 24-hour veterinary referral program. In addition, the Equine Centre provides emergency on-site ambulance service for equine athletes at major events including the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Pan-American Games, North American Young Riders Championships and the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Equine Centre staff also provides training for other humane organizations around the country.

The ambulance program costs the Equine Centre approximately $70,000 a year to operate, yet horse owners pay only a nominal charge for the veterinary referral service. The rest of the program is supported by donations, grants and funding from the Nevins Farms’ operating budget. “As we continue to expand our ambulance program, we hope to also expand our base of support to include sponsorship from the corporate community,” said Silva.

The MSPCA Nevins Farm & Equine Centre is located on 60 acres of rolling pastures in Methuen, Massachusetts. It serves all New England and offers humane education, surrender, adoption and foster care programs, as well as volunteer opportunities and equine ambulance rescue. The MSPCA receives no state or federal funding and depends on individual donations to keep its programs running.

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