Letychiv, Ukraine, June 20, 2022.
Surrounded by the noise of the feed production factory, Taisia Stadnichenko, head of Ukrainian Operations for the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation, proudly stands at the end of the production line to witness the first 90 tonnes of UEF-CF humanitarian feed for horses coming off the production line, wrapped in its distinctive blue and yellow humanitarian aid packaging.
This has been the result of a long labour of love by the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation. Their goal is to produce humanitarian horse feed in Ukraine to cut the costs on logistics from abroad, use local raw materials to help the farmers and give work to the Ukrainian feed production enterprise to help the local economy.
About 100,000 Ukrainian horses are currently in difficulties. In the first months of the war, the UEF-CF received kind humanitarian aid donations from abroad which partially solved the problem. However, it also created some new ones as the donated food came from a wide variety of brands, producers and countries. The timing and quantities of in-kind donations were unpredictable. The frequent changes of food made the rehabilitation process of weak and starving horses difficult and under certain conditions even dangerous for horses’ health.
When the amount of humanitarian aid began to decrease and the cost of logistics increased, a decision was made to use donor funds more efficiently and produce feed in Ukraine at one of the most technologically advanced feed processing factories – Letychiv feed mill, which is a part of Edinstvo Holding.
The project was made possible thanks to cooperation with the Dutch premium horse feed manufacturer Horsefood (https://www.horsefoodthebest.nl/), which developed a special recipe of the core essential nutrients, vitamins and supplements needed for horses after starvation or a period of restriction of the diet, with reduced immunity. Horsefood’s formula provides 25% of the composition. The other 75% of the feed consists of the Ukrainian sourced raw materials – barley, wheat, bran, corn and molasses. The essence of the product is that it meets the current needs of horses in Ukraine, which do not need high-energy fast release food, at the same time, most of them suffer from malnutrition, stress, frequent transportation and unusual lifestyle.
“Using a feed factory inside Ukraine solves several problems at once,” said Mykhaylo Parkhomchuk, founder of the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation and the Secretary General of the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation. “Local production reduces the variety and constant change of feed, which exacerbates the risk of horse health problems. Secondly, the use of local raw materials and production enables the UEF-CF to use the financial donations we receive from around the world and use them in Ukraine to directly help not only the equestrian community but also to help the farmers and local companies in Ukraine, whilst maintaining jobs.”
Feed is packed in specially printed bags, which state: “humanitarian aid, not for sale.” According to the team of the UEF-CF, this will help to avoid abuse and possible resale.
This feed, as well as other humanitarian aid from the Foundation, can be received by any stable or equestrian club in Ukraine, from a home with just one horse or pony to a large stable or racetrack.
“For us, the value or pedigree of a horse does not matter. We assume that each horse is the most favorite for its owner. – states Taisiya Stadnichenko. – Most owners suffer from a lack of funds to keep their horses. Our goal is to help them feed the horses during the most difficult time of adaptation to the new reality, so that they do not make rash decisions about their animals.”
The UEF-CF system that collects requests for humanitarian aid for horses has been working since the beginning of the war, it is open, transparent and accessible to all. Currently, about 300 stables and clubs need assistance, of which about 170 stables with a total population of more than 3,500 horses have received aid from the UEF-CF. As the need for humanitarian aid is projected to increase, it is hoped that the localization of feed production will help to feed horses in Ukraine.
About the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation Charity Foundation
The mission of the foundation, founded on the 4th day of the war, is to help Ukrainian horses and horsemen to survive the terrible times and, in the future, to help restore the equestrian sports industry of Ukraine. The main three areas of the Fund’s work are: evacuation of horses from dangerous areas, assistance with fodder and bedding, keeping horses in free shelters in Lviv and Rivne regions.
At present, about 500 horses have been evacuated in Ukraine and abroad, and about 1,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid for 3,500 horses have been delivered to more than 170 stables in Ukraine. A transparent system of requests for humanitarian aid has been created through a chatbot and an application on the website, along with an electronic queue for evacuation, and a map of shelters. At the same time, there is a logistics system for transporting feed to the stables and evacuation, and free shelters are provided. The work of the Foundation is provided by about 30 volunteers in Ukraine and about 40 volunteers abroad.