Japan's Equine Industry Begins Rebuilding

Now more than two weeks after the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11, the equine industry in the country is beginning to rebuild. New details continue to surface about the extent of the damage, but the industry as a whole is working to move forward.

"There still are minor (after)shocks in eastern Japan," said Fumiaki Mizobe, DVM, of the Japan Racing Association (JRA), adding that the ongoing situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant remains a concern to area residents.

Mizobe said that four riding clubs in the Miyagi prefecture and one in the Fukushima prefecture were submerged by the tsunami and suffered structural damage. He also relayed that at least 75 riding horses in the Miyagi, Fukushima, and nearby Tochigi prefectures died as a result of the quakes or tsunami.

While officials are still surveying the damage in some areas, local organizations are stepping up to help horse owners care for their surviving animals.

"As lots of devastating information gradually began to surface, small but very important attempts to improve the situation are being done by some associations," Mizobe noted.

"The Miyagi prefecture was heavily damaged by the quake, being located near the center of the earthquake," he said. "Farms in Miyagi are now ... facing a shortage of stock (forage, concentrate, etc.)."

According to Mizobe, the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association has begun transporting feed to these areas for the surviving horses.

Additionally, racing has resumed in western Japan. Mizobe noted that through fundraising efforts at the race meets, the JRA has donated more than 1.1 billion to disaster relief funds.

"Along with this, donations from the associations of horse owners, trainers, or jockeys were sent to the affected area," he explained. "To contribute more to support those affected from the crisis, JRA will continue to conduct various charity measures at racecourses."

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.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More