The incredibly sad consequence of Russia’s attack on Ukraine has caused a mass exodus of the Ukrainian population – with over 3.7 million people having fled the country in the past few weeks and now seeking refuge abroad. Amid all the horror of this humanitarian crisis, pet owners have struggled to bring their animals with them, and with over 100 000 domestic horses in Ukraine, many horse owners are also faced with extremely difficult decisions. In a remarkable coordinated effort, the international equestrian community is stepping up to help Ukrainians and their horses evacuate and support them through these extraordinarily challenging times.
Horses and Their Owners Waiting to Cross the Border:
Regulations and border control have made it difficult in some cases for horses to enter neighboring EU countries. Strict animal import regulations, including mandatory vaccines, passports, health certificate and microchips have made it challenging for horse owners to navigate through these bureaucratic procedures. Despite unprecedented efforts to evacuate horses, many are still stuck at the border and awaiting approval of paperwork before being allowed in the EU. Currently, talks are in progress with neighboring countries, including Poland, Slovakia and Romania, to simplify border crossing procedures.
Demand for Horse Transportation is Very High:
Demand for horse transportation is very high, with numerous demands from horse owners, including equestrian clubs, who don’t have the capacity or resources to transport all their horses. While there are local volunteers in Ukraine willing to drive back and forth to transport horses, there is a shortage of vehicles for horse transportation. There are currently open appeals to those who own large, authorized horse transport trucks to give a helping hand.
In addition to direct transport, non-profit organizations can also use financial donations to purchase fuel, feed, and temporary shelter for the animals.
The FEI, USEF, and Non-Profit Organizations are Stepping Up:
The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation is the main non-profit organization providing feed, transport, and temporary boarding of horses in Ukraine and across the border. Supported by the FEI (International Equestrian Federation), the foundation gathers funds to support Ukrainian horse owners, riding schools and stables. The foundation strives to help horse owners with relocation, organizing logistics, helping prepare necessary documents for entry into the EU. It is also providing feed and temporary shelter options in both Ukraine and across neighboring countries.
On March 15th, US Equestrian Federation (USEF) announced that it would be joining FEI’s efforts to support the equestrian community in Ukraine. The US equestrian community can now make tax-deductible donations to support the cause through USEF, where 100% of the funds contributed will be going to the FEI solidarity fund and directly to those in need.
Social media has been an incredible tool in spreading the word and gathering support for horses in Ukraine. Help from abroad and foreign equestrians has been crucial to gather funds and coordinate evacuation of horses to safety.
Several Facebook groups and online databases have also been created and managed by individuals organizing and collecting data to match offers with requests. For individuals able to offer housing, transport, or stabling support, running registries are also available (see relevant links below).
Here’s How You Can Help:
- Donate to the Ukrainian Equestrian Charity Foundation (associated to FEI): helpukrainehorses.eu or offer transportation contact: [email protected]
- Donate to USEF Ukraine Relief Fund: https://www.usef.org/donate?selected=43&utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Press%20Release%20-%20Ukraine%20Relief%20Fund-03.14.22%20(1)&utm_content=
- Donate to PETA to help animals in Ukraine: https://support.peta.org/page/38547/donate/1?locale=en-US
- Donate to ARCA – Animal Rescue and Care in Romania: Contact [email protected] or visit their Facebook page to find or offer transport / stable options in Romania: https://www.facebook.com/leteawildhorses/
- Donate to Fleet of Angels (charity organization award-winning nonprofit that helps thousands of equines in crisis): https://www.fleetofangels.org/ or visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FleetOfAngelsNews
- Connect with this group to find or offer transport / stable options in Poland: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1163305924474696/
- Connect with this group to find available transport / stable options in Slovakia: https://www.facebook.com/groups/654211168968932/permalink/654240628965986/