A Tipperary horse breeder is to make the 3,000 kilometre trip to Ukraine with much needed equine medicine.
Many horses in Ukraine have become displaced, killed or have died due to hunger and injuries since the conflict began last February.
John O’Connor of Ballykelly Stud near Cashel says the number of stressed and injured horses has also placed great strain on the veterinary medical supply chain in the country.
He says the majority of those caring for horses are women with young families whose husbands or partners have been conscripted into the army.
“They’re having to deal with managing a family on their own, worrying about their husbands, hearing the sound almost every night of the air-raid sirens going off and then thinking about how do we keep these horses fed and minded.
“Some of those things I can’t do anything about but the things that I can – which is keeping the horses minded – that’s what I’m trying to do. To try and give them one less thing to worry about.”
John says the four-wheel drive they will use to transport the supplies will be put to good use when it gets to Ukraine.
“It’s on a one-way ticket. It heads off to the eastern front once its dropped off the medicine.
“We’ve got a friend there Dmytro Omelchenko (“Dima”) who specialises in exfiltrating vulnerable people – very often elderly people – who are trapped behind the lines or in difficult situations. He’s just lost his last vehicle to a landmine – he ended up in hospital – but we’re trying to get him another one so he can continue his work.”
John’s target is to raise €20,000 for Project Cossack
The GoFundMe Page can be found here https://www.gofundme.com/f/irish-horse-community-helps-in-ukraine