British group sends in 9 trucks of aid for Ukraine’s embattled horses

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British Equestrians for Ukraine sent a nine-truck convoy of supplies and with British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine, has raised more than £200,000.
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych

As fighting intensifies in the south and east of Ukraine, equestrian groups are continuing to rally to help provide humanitarian and equine aid, and two British groups alone have raised more than £200,000 ($US225K; $NZ330K).

Working in collaboration both in the United Kingdom and with parties in Europe and Ukraine, British Equestrians for Ukraine (BEU) sent a nine-truck convoy containing food, forage and bedding to Poland at the end of March. This has all been distributed throughout Ukraine via an established supply chain, to key locations where it was most needed.

Donations to the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund, hosted by World Horse Welfare, now stand at £164,000. British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine (BVP4U), which has raised £44,000 for humanitarian aid, has linked with BEU to support the need for veterinary supplies. Other groups including the British Equestrian Veterinary Association Trust (BEVA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) have also donated.

BVP4U team member David Rendle, President-Elect of the British Equine Veterinary Association, will travel to the Polish/Ukrainian border this week to assess the situation and veterinary standards. He is coordinating a truck of much-needed veterinary supplies to leave the UK this week, and is working with Claire Williams from the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) to ensure that the truck is full of any additional donated equine, pet and humanitarian supplies. The truck will travel to Poland and on to Ukraine, where its cargo will be distributed.

BETA is working on a supply source and transport provider for haylage and bedding in Europe so BEU can fund more economical ways to get supplies to Ukraine efficiently. The emphasis is on low-protein, small-bale forage and shavings because there are currently good stocks of hard feed on hand.

The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) is prioritising relocating equines to holding camps in safe areas over trying to get them across the border into Poland and beyond. The wait times for paperwork to be checked, even for microchipped horses, is generally 20 to 40 hours on the border. The camps provide housing and support for any horse and any people who travel with them and BEU has been providing logistics and financial help to set up and run the camps.

World Horse Welfare CEO Roly Owers said the Ukrainian equestrian industry will need help for many more months.

“The situation in Ukraine remains utterly dire but thanks to people’s generosity we are starting to have some impact in getting aid to where it is needed, both through donations of supplies and funding. The initial response to the appeal has been amazing and to have legends like Lucinda Green and Carl Hester supporting our collective effort is incredible.

“However, the stark reality is that the desperate need to support Ukrainian horses and the wider sector will remain for months to come, whatever happens on the ground. So we would implore everyone to continue to donate and to fundraise in support of this much-needed initiative.”

British Equestrians for Ukraine was set up by British Equestrian (BEF), The British Horse Society (BHS), the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and World Horse Welfare with the support of member bodies across the industry to help all horses in need in Ukraine and Poland. Donations are welcomed, and UK taxpayers can claim Gift Aid.

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