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Students and members of the public take part in a large animal emergency rescue workshop held on UD’s Webb Farm
Students and members of the public take part in a large animal emergency rescue workshop held on UD’s Webb Farm.

Large Animal Emergency Workshops

Photo courtesy of Amy Biddle

'Horses tend to get stuck in weird places,' says professor

Almost eighty people took part in a Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training held in October at UD’s Webb Farm. Participants included University of Delaware students, members of the public, veterinary professionals, first responders, officials and volunteers from the Maryland Park Service.

The awareness workshops were led by Roger Lauze from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), Jo Ann Bashore, former Park Ranger at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area (NRMA), and Tom Coulter, paramedic and instructor from Coulter and Associates.

Amy Biddle, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, said that the course sprung up organically from students in the equine management capstone course after Bashore visited the class and talked about her experiences handling equine emergencies at Fair Hill NRMA.

Workshops were geared toward instructing participants on how to move large animals safely and quickly in cases of disaster or injury while preventing potential injuries to the humans involved.  

“There were techniques for handling equine emergencies, transporting horses, getting horses out of tight spots, and so there were a variety of scenarios that groups worked in teams to solve,” said Biddle. “For instance, a horse that’s stuck in a trailer if there’s been a trailer accident or if a horse is stuck in a ditch. Horses tend to get stuck in weird places. If there’s a way to hurt themselves, they will find it, so it’s important to know how to move them safely.”

The course offered classroom instruction and hands-on scenarios using specialized equipment that may be readily available to first responder departments including a rescue trailer generously made available by Fair Hill NRMA.

Biddle said that she received positive feedback from participants and the hope was to generate awareness and interest for national certification programs such as the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue class which was held by the Division of Public Health Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) in September.

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