The Ark at JFK Opens Quarantine Facilities

The Ark’s facilities are designed to eliminate the introduction of disease to the United States from imported horses.

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The Ark at JFK completed construction on its equine import and quarantine facility in late June.

Located at Cargo Area 78A at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), in Queens, New York, The Ark is the world’s first privately owned animal airport and handling center. It opened its export section earlier this year, while the Phase 2 import facilities remained under construction. The equine quarantine facility will open and begin operating as soon as The Ark receives USDA approval. Phase 3, slated to open this fall, will add a long-term pet boarding facility.

Horses entering the United States are typically valuable animals imported for world-class competition or sales. The airport’s former quarantine facilities were in Newburgh, New York, a couple of hours’ drive from JFK, tacking extra time on the end of an already long trip for the horses.

The Ark’s facilities are designed to eliminate the introduction of disease to the United States from imported horses. Because the facilities are located at the airport, planes’ jet stalls can pull up right outside the building. A specially designed trailer transports horses in their jet stalls directly from the plane into quarantine. Immediately, veterinarians draw the horses’ blood in a holding area. The sample is sent by courier to the USDA laboratory for testing while the horse waits in a stall for a couple of days until the results are ready

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Written by:

Amber Heintzberger is a journalist, photographer and award-winning author of Beyond the Track: Retraining the Thoroughbred from Racehorse to Riding Horse (Trafalgar Publishing, 2008). She lives in New York City.

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