When we heard about the devastation following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, our first thoughts turned to the suffering of the people there, which received much of the early coverage. Little by little, the impact on Japan’s animals started to receive more attention.
Among Japan’s animal population are American bred Thoroughbred champions who are standing stud there, including such notables as Azeri, Charismatic, Empire Maker and Silver Charm.
- As previously reported, much of Japan’s Thoroughbred breeding industry–most of which is located on the island of Hokkaido–remained safe from severe damage, and no equine deaths or injuries have been reported. The island is home to American-bred and raced champions such as Charismatic, Empire Maker, and Silver Charm.
- The Japan Racing Association has made the decision, however, to cancel the racing schedule at Nakayama Racecourse, located near Tokyo, through the end of March, BloodHorse.com reported. Racing is scheduled to resume April 17.
- Outside the Thoroughbred racing industry, there is limited information as to how many farms suffered damage from the earthquake and tsunami.
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The Daily Racing Form reports:
- The center of Japan’s Thoroughbred breeding industry – home to such American-bred champions as Azeri, Silver Charm, and Charismatic – appears to have escaped the nation’s largest-ever earthquake with relatively little damage, according to French bloodstock agent Patrick Barbe.
- Barbe’s clients include Teruya Yoshida of Shadai Farm. Barbe said he spoke with Yoshida’s secretary early Friday morning after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck the area. The tsunami caused flooding on Hokkaido, but the Shadai employee told Barbe that staff and horses were uninjured and damage was relatively light on the West coast of Hokkaido.
- Barbe said he was told the area near Shadai was “reasonably untouched.”
- Darley Stud’s stallion director, Sam Bullard, also told Britain’s sporting newspaper Racing Post that their stallions in Japan were unharmed.
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Although good news, there are still major concerns and many unanswered questions regarding the amount of radiation exposure from damaged nuclear reactors and what the consequences will be on the health and wellbeing of all.
Photo credit: Kate Hunter. See more of Kate’s photographs on Flickr.