New Information on Japan's Equine Industry Surfaces

Now a week after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, new information is slowly surfacing about the equine population in the areas heavily damaged by the natural disasters.

"Currently, we still have intermittent earthquakes elsewhere in northeastern Japan, and above all, what is happening now in Fukushima nuclear power plants is still unclear--so indeed, everyone in our horse industry is still tensed up," said Fumiaki Mizobe, DVM, of the Japan Racing Association.

Mizobe explained that although no horses or farms on the island of Hokkaido suffered major damage from the earthquake or tsunami, some horses have been moved further inland to assure their safety.

Additionally, he added, none of the training farms in Miyagi, Fukushima, and Iwate regions reported injuries to their horses; however, some suffered structural damage to their facilities.

"On account of the radiation leak caused by the explosions at Fukushima nuclear power plant, some of the training farms decided to move their horses to other areas (for safety reasons)," Mizobe noted.

He added that several riding clubs in the Fukushima prefecture evacuated their horses from the area to comply with Japanese government evacuation instructions in connection with the radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

He also noted that most of the training and breeding farms have enough stockpiled feed for their horses at present.

However, news from the Miyagi prefecture--one of the worse-hit regions--is not as positive. Mizobi explained that three riding clubs in the region were "submerged in the tsunami."

"Thirty-three riding horses belonging to these riding clubs were rescued," he noted. "But four horses were reported dead, and at least 18 horses were reported missing." will continue providing updates as more information becomes available.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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