The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust has received welcome aid for the emaciated, unwell and injured equines in its care, as a food shortage sweeps across the country.

Due to a combination of climate change, conflicts including the Ukraine war, and the time of year, forage for the equines has become scarce, so the charity have had to go to “extreme measures” to ensure the welfare of their animals.

“Whilst we know it is not a long-term sustainable solution to ship food from the UK to The Gambia, desperate times call for desperate measures,” said Charity Director, Heather Armstrong. “We cannot simply let down the animals in our care so we have a responsibility to source enough food, in any way we can, to get us through the next few months.”

It is currently the rain season in The Gambia, so grasses are beginning to grow, but the crops are not nutrient rich and do not carry the same value as the grass in other countries, such as the UK. The primary source of forage for the equines is groundnut hay – the plant that peanuts grow on – with the hay being a useful and nutritious by-product. However, the hay harvest season is months away and in order for the charity’s equines to survive they required supplies for this interim period.

“We had contacted a number of sugarbeet suppliers in the UK to find out the cost of purchasing sugarbeet to help us through the next couple of months,” said Heather. “Imagine our delight when we received an email from Dr Stephanie Wood at Dodson and Horrell saying that rather than us purchasing food from them, they would like to donate a pallet of 25 bags to us completely free of charge.”

Dr Stephanie Wood, R and D and Marketing Manager at Dodson and Horrell said the company wanted to help support the horses, ponies and donkeys in The Gambia.

“We understand their situation is becoming increasingly challenging and wanted to work with the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust to provide targeted support that we know will be delivered to the most vulnerable,” she said.

Heather added that the donated sugar beet will directly help the many horses and donkeys in her charity’s care and it will make “a real difference” to equines in need.

To find out more about the charity, click here.

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