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Want to put several horses in a steel container and then transport them on a commercial cargo ship in the summer heat? Most people with an ounce of compassion would realize that this is unethical and dangerous for the animals, but the company TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico currently moves Thoroughbreds via cargo ship from Florida’s Port of Jacksonville to San Juan.
This is a grueling, days-long journey, and some horses don’t survive it. The long trip, insufficient space, and often limited air circulation can result in soaring temperatures inside the shipping containers, which can quickly become dangerous for equines. High temperatures put horses at risk of heatstroke, brain damage, and death. Even in cooler temperatures, this type of transportation is unethical, as the restricted space may contribute to serious health issues such as edema or laminitis. Shipping horses via cargo ship is so dangerous that in 2019, eight horses died aboard a TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico containership while being transported from the Port of Jacksonville to San Juan—and the company still didn’t end this cruel practice.
People in the racing industry continue to transport horses on cargo ships because the cost is often lower than air transport. Owners save money at the horses’ expense. TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico has refused to ban this outdated practice, even though humane options for transportation exist. With temperatures expected to soar over the upcoming summer months, it’s likely that more horses will die if immediate action isn’t taken.
Please ask TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico to put an end to this.