As a food shortage sweeps across The Gambia, equine charity The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust are under increasing pressure to find additional sources of food for the emaciated, sick and injured equines in their care.
Due to a combination of climate change, conflicts such as the Ukraine war and the time of year, forage for the equines has become extremely scarce.
As a result, the charity have had to go to extreme measures to ensure the welfare of their patients.
Director, Heather Armstrong said: “While 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.
“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 rainy season in The Gambia, so grasses are beginning to grow but the grasses there are not nutrient rich and so do not carry the same nutritious value as the grass we are used to in the UK.
“The primary source of forage for the equines is groundnut hay – this is the plant that peanuts grow on, with the hay being a useful and nutritious by-product. However, the hay harvest season is still months away and for our animals to survive we needed something to help us through the 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.
“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!” continued Heather.
Stephanie explained: “As a producer of quality equine feeds, we wanted to play our part in supporting the horses, ponies, and donkeys in Gambia, where availability of feed is extremely limited.
“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.”
Thanks to this generous donation, the sugarbeet is now on its way to directly help the many horses and donkeys in our care and it will make a real difference to equines in need.