Relief Comes to Abandoned Horses in Pakistan

The first wave of outside assistance has reached the Karachi Race Course in Pakistan. On July 1, the Associated Press reported that 250 abandoned horses were at the racetrack and had not been moved since it closed in March. Many of the horses were not being cared for at all. On July 9, a veterinarian from a branch of the Brooke Hospital arrived at the racetrack to supply aid.

Brooke Hospital is based in England, but has a branch in Pakistan. Working with the British-based International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), the rescue effort was initiated with Brooke's recently retired chief veterinary officer Dr. Anwar ul-Haq taking funds with him to purchase food and medical supplies.

Ul-Haq found 380 horses on the grounds, according to a release from the ILPH. The AP report said some had been left to starve, while trainers or grooms were taking care of others. Ul-Haq reported that 70 horses had died and 60 others were severely malnourished.

Intravenous rehydration has been necessary in some cases, and careful feeding has been the rule, since under-nourished horses are more prone to colic. Ul-Haq said some horses had already suffered from colic after eating unsuitable things to satisfy their hunger.

"Those belonging to the more well-off owners are fortunate," he said. "The 60 to 70 animals belonging to poorer men are suffering more. The termination of racing has left the men completely destitute."

Racing began July 28, and it is hoped that the reopening of racing at the course will make the ownership of the horses economically viable again.

The ILPH provided £5,000 (about $7,100) for the efforts. The Brooke Hospital for Animals also volunteered manpower.

In the United States, representatives of the California Equine Retirement Foundation, the Exceller Fund, National Thoroughbred Racing Association Charities, Keeneland, and ReRun, have been collecting money to send to the ILPH to assist in their efforts. The president of a Winchester, Ky., feed store, Sphar Feed and Seed, has offered between five and 10 tons of feed toward the effort. Logistics are currently being worked out for shipping the supplies.

About $8,000 had been raised in the United States at press time. By donating to the existing groups, which are non-profit entities, the gift is considered tax deductible. For more information visit,, or call ReRun at 859/289-7786.

About the Author

Kristin Ingwell Goode

Kristin Ingwell Goode was a staff writer for The Blood-Horse, a weekly Thoroughbred news magazine and a sister publication to The Horse.

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