Leading organisations and individuals across Britain’s equestrian community have united to form ‘British Equestrians for Ukraine’ which aims to help horses and their owners caught up in the crisis created by the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation has put out an urgent call for supplies on the ground including feed, forage and shavings and with a groundswell of support from the equine industry, there was a clear need to help co-ordinate the offers of assistance from leading brands as well as raise money to fund aid directly where it’s needed most.
Spearheaded by British Equestrian (BEF), The British Horse Society (BHS), the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), British Equine Vet Association (BEVA) and World Horse Welfare with the support of member bodies across the industry, British Equestrians for Ukraine has been set up to help facilitate a supply chain to meet the immediate need for goods on the ground as well as raising money to help purchase supplies and cover the costs associated with transport.
Jim Eyre, British Equestrian Chief Executive commented:
“This is a dire situation, and, alongside the immediate humanitarian crisis, we must do everything we can to prevent the unnecessary suffering of all equines and help those who care for them. We’re fortunate that our equestrian community is blessed with so many willing to help those in need. However, it’s apparent that careful co-ordination is required to make sure urgent goods get to those in need through the correct channels. We hope that we can help facilitate that while urgently raising funds for the emergency requirements and beyond. I’d like to thank all those involved in getting the fund and export effort launched, particularly Alec Lochore, Alice Fox-Pitt, Roly Owers, James Hick and Claire Williams.”
The group’s first action was to facilitate a trusted method for financial contributions, with World Horse Welfare setting up the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund on their website where direct donations can be made by individuals or organisations. Donations, no matter how small, will help the group to work with trusted, local partners, including the Ukraine and Polish Federations and recognised charities to provide emergency support. UK taxpayers can sign up for Gift Aid on their donations which means the fund will receive an extra 25p in every £1 you give, at no extra cost.
Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said:
“The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine is utterly heart-breaking but there has been such a desire from across Britain to help Ukraine’s horses and those who own or care for them. This fund aims to do just that and, along with the British Horse Society, we have donated to the appeal, and would encourage others to do the same.
“Without doubt there will be huge challenges to effectively target funds where they are most needed, so we will strive to work through a network of trusted local partners in what is clearly such an unsettled and rapidly evolving situation.”
The group is also working with leading equestrian brands and BETA members to coordinate offers of the urgently required goods and then match them with planned haulage trips to the Polish logistics hub established by the Ukrainian and Polish Equestrian Federations. This way the group can ensure lorries are leaving British shores full, with the right supplies and correct exportation documentation to expedite the goods getting into Poland and on to Ukraine.
Executive Director of BETA, Claire Williams, praised the efforts so far:
“What has been achieved in such a short time shows what we are able to do by working together. Shipments of hay and bedding are already on their way, but the logistics due to Brexit are challenging. Feed companies with distributors and stock on the Continent are stepping up to assist while others who are experienced exporters are committing supplies to be sent over either through shared loads or direct with their usual hauliers. Other companies who are not in a position to send product have also pledged cash donations to the new fund.”
How the equine community can help via British Equestrians for Ukraine
Any product supplied will need to be accompanied by export documentation and should not require export health certificates.
The group does not recommend that private individuals collect donations of goods or equipment and/or attempt to transport them to Europe themselves unless they have extensive experience of exporting goods. There are significant logistical barriers and the required exportation documentation for mixed loads is extensive plus the inherent costs associated with the trip could become prohibitive.
James Hicks, BHS Chief Executive, added:
“We have been shocked by the events unfolding in Ukraine and as a charity that is here for all horses and people who care for them, we wanted to help, and we know many of our members and supporters also want to help during this incredibly difficult time. By collectively coming together we have launched a dedicated fund and The British Horse Society will be making a donation, we would encourage anyone who feels that they can afford to donate to do so. These are unprecedented times and just these small actions we’re taking will make a difference.”
You can donate to the emergency appeal here.