More than £100,000 has been raised to help horses and their carers affected by the devastating crisis in Ukraine.
In just over a week, the team behind British Equestrians for Ukraine has also collected horse feed, veterinary supplies and bedding worth around £90,000 – equating to nine lorry loads – which is now on-route to Poland.
The efforts are being coordinated by World Horse Welfare, British Equestrian, the British Horse Society and the British Equine Trade Association (BETA).
Working with the Ukrainian Equestrian Foundation and trusted partners, the group is developing logistics and supply chains to ensure the supplies are distributed in Ukraine from drop-off points in Poland. Donations can be made at worldhorsewelfare.org
“Our members and the wider trade have all been touched by the distress faced by the Ukrainian equestrian community and have been overwhelming in their support,” commented Claire Williams from BETA. “So many have pledged support, but I must thank Country Haylage who’ve raised over £25,000 and been instrumental in coordinating the nine-lorry lift of product generously donated from manufacturers across the country.”
While the campaign has received an overwhelming response, organisers are reporting that the situation on the ground in Ukraine is becoming ‘increasingly dire’, and the priority is getting food and bedding for equines throughout the country.
There is currently a massive operation underway to evacuate any horses in need of rescue out of the nation or relocate them to safer regions in the west. The group is communicating with Ukrainian connections, including the Ukrainian Horse Union, which has the most knowledge about stables and equines in the nation and is assisting in the establishment of a 'base camp' for equines in Lviv or along the border in Poland.
Lobbying is also being conducted in an effort to remove red tape for persons attempting to transport their horses across the Polish border.
“The situation in Ukraine remains deeply worrying, but it is encouraging to see the progress being made in getting supplies through to the Ukrainian border,” commented Roly Owers from World Horse Welfare. “For sure, this is just the beginning, and there is no doubt that this is going to be an on-going mission.
“Without the generosity of everyone who has donated to the appeal already, none of this would have been possible. In such concerning times, it is so uplifting to see how much support there is for the animals and people of Ukraine. Financial donations will help us most at this stage as we work with trusted partners on the ground.”