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Over £100,000 raised by British Equestrians for Ukraine and World Horse Welfare
British Equestrians for Ukraine is a relief effort set up by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), The British Horse Society (BHS), the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), and World Horse Welfare, along with the support of various member bodies across the industry, with the aim to provide emergency support and vital resources for the equines, and their owners and carers, that have been affected by the devastation of the conflict in Ukraine.
The organisation recently made the announcement that, just over a week after its launch, it had received an overwhelming response from the equine community to help those displaced by the Russian invasion. As of 22nd March, the public fund set up via World Horse Welfare had received over £100,000 in donations, while the coordinated efforts of the British Trade Association (BETA) saw over £90,000-worth of feed and bedding collected, loaded onto nine lorries, and sent over to Poland.
The team at British Equestrians for Ukraine is working in close collaboration with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation and trusted partners in neighbouring countries, liaising with those on the ground to develop logistics and supply chain solutions which will ensure that food, bedding, veterinary supplies are taken from the drop-off points in Poland and distributed to those in need throughout Ukraine.
Claire Williams, a spokesperson for BETA, said: “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. 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. Further members of the trade have made significant cash donations to the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund, and many retailers are running fundraising initiatives to further boost the fund.”
With the situation in Ukraine becoming increasingly dire, the priority is placed on getting food and bedding delivered to equines throughout the country. The Ukraine Federation has recently outlined requirements to facilitate efficient deliveries in an effort to ensure the supplies received daily from supporters across Europe can reach those who need them most.
Huge efforts are also being made to evacuate any horses requiring rescue out of the country, or to safer areas in the west. British Equestrians for Ukraine is liaising with Ukrainian contacts, including the Ukrainian Horse Union, who have the best knowledge of stables and equines in the country, and who are helping to establish a ‘base camp’ for equines. The organisation is also lobbying on behalf of equines in Ukraine in an effort to remove the red tape for people seeking to evacuate their horses across the Polish border.
Roy Owers, from World Horse Welfare, said: “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. For sure, this is just the beginning, and there is no doubt that this is going to be an ongoing 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.”
The relief effort has seen widespread support from all areas across the industry, with The British Equestrian Veterinary Association partnering with the newly established British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine to help raise funds for medical and veterinary supplies for practitioners working in areas where fighting is ongoing. Additionally, Olympic disciplines British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping have all pledged support to the British Equestrians for Ukraine fund.
British Equestrian Chief Executive Jim Eyre summarised the efforts: “It’s been a tremendous response so far, but we must keep up the momentum. The humanitarian crisis is escalating as the fighting and unwarranted bombing continues, and the conditions for equines and their people will continue to deteriorate. The generosity shown in such a short time by so many is testament to Britain’s amazing equestrian community. We’re already hearing how the funds and products are making an impact, and there’s further support in the planning stages to have more impact on the ground and getting the horses to safety. We’ll continue to release updates so those who’ve supported know they’re making a difference.”
To donate to the British Equestrians for Ukraine relief fund, visit the dedicated page on World Horse Welfare’s website.