In the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill, the ASPCA has donated $15,000 to the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) in Austin, TX, to develop a detailed curriculum and training program for emergency animal responders in the Texas Gulf region. Established in 1978, TVMF is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of animals through owner education programs, veterinary student scholarships and emergency funds, and continuing education programs.
“The ASPCA recognizes the importance of disaster preparedness and assembling the resources to assist animal victims of both natural and man-made disasters,” says Allison Cardona, Director of Operations for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “We’re pleased to support the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation’s efforts to create specially trained teams.”
TVMF will recruit a number of professionals in veterinary medicine, law enforcement, and the animal sheltering field who will receive training in disaster zone assessment, animal care and handling methods, and disaster response procedures.
“As we've seen with the Gulf Coast oil spill and Hurricane Ike, disasters will always happen,” says Kay Mayfield, Executive Director of Texas State Animal Resource Team (TxSART), the companion animal emergency management branch of the TVMF. “Through TxSART, we now have a united front to manage emergencies, and the creation of specialized and skilled response teams will improve our effectiveness.”
Last year, the City of New York gave Shamrock Stables—the West 45th Street home to more than two dozen Central Park carriage horses—until June of this year to move out of its current, City-owned facilities. The City has kept its deadline and plans to demolish the current stables to build an affordable housing development that will include a new school, stores and open spaces.
Shamrock Stables has been leasing its lot from the City for below market value for many years, and Midtown's other horse stables are already packed to capacity. With a scarcity of properties that are close to Central Park, appropriately priced and zoned, the future of these carriage horses is up in the air.
The ASPCA, in collaboration with NY-CLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets), has made an offer to Shamrock Stables and the City to find homes for the horses and relocate them to safer, more humane environments. This option would put the welfare of the horses first, and prevent them from being auctioned off to work farms, the slaughterhouse or other venues where the possibility for exploitation and inhumane treatment is high.
“At this time, we have made a clear offer to Shamrock Stables,” says Michelle Villagomez, ASPCA Senior Manager of Advocacy. “We stand ready to assist in any way we can to help improve conditions for these horses.”
"Even though we have opposing views on the proper treatment of horses, we believe that in this case, we can all work together on their behalf," says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. "We stand ready to cooperate with Shamrock Stables and the City on this important issue."