The welfare of over 450 horses, donkeys, ponies and mules, have been put at risk following the overwhelming floods that have hit Bransby Horses since Friday 8th November 2019. As many parts of the country have been hit with flooding, none have been more so than this Lincolnshire equine rescue and welfare charity.
On Friday night, along with the unprecedented levels of rain, the drain valves which served to help keep rising waters of Bransby at bay, were closed as advised by the Environment Agency, to prevent the further flooding of Lincoln. This arrangement is a long-standing agreement between the Environment Agency and the charity to help protect thousands of homes in and around Lincoln from flooding.
The consequences for Bransby Horses have been extreme. The charity fully supports the required actions of the Environment Agency to flood the Till Washland, though this has unfortunately impacted the charity in life changing ways.
Jo Snell, Chief Executive says:
“We’re in crisis conditions which will have significant long term effect on our charity, staff and equine residents for months, perhaps for even years to come. We have over 450 equines on site, of which we have assessed that over 100 will need moving to our site in Barlings within the next 4 weeks. The current conditions are not sustainable for keeping our animals and staff safe, which of course is and always will be our priority.
“The floods have in parts brought and spread human sewage onto our site, and this, combined with over four foot of water in places, means the land which our animals graze on is fast becoming unsafe.”
The charity is working on short and long term plans to help combat the hazardous conditions which are worsening every day, and are predicted to continue as such for many weeks to come. Over 40% of the grazing land, so desperately needed with the upcoming winter, has been deemed unsafe, for at least 6 months.
Emma Carter, Director of Equine Welfare, says:
“We were flooded in 2007, but not to these levels and not with over 400 horses to keep safe and well. These are extreme times for us, and we will need all the support we can get from our staff and where, possible, local businesses and the public. We’re currently planning exactly what support we will need and how we can coordinate it, and will communicate this in the coming days. For now, our priority is to keep our animals out of the contaminated waters and supplied with clean water, fresh bedding and the nourishment such cold temperatures demand of them.
“As for the long term, whilst large amounts of our site are still underwater, the future is going to be tough over the coming year. In the next 4 weeks we will be looking to move 100 equines up to our site in Barlings, Langworth, which we acquired last year. This purchase, was made in part for this very contingency. However, the site is currently far from being fit for the large number of equines that we need to move with such speed and for the staff required to work there.
We will need money and labour to make this a success and to cause as least stress to our horses, donkeys, mules and ponies as possible.”
The charity will be issuing more statements over the coming days and weeks, including appeals for help and the unfortunate cancelling of advertised events such as their Christmas Light Switch on.
Sally Crawford, Director of Engagement and Income Generation, says
“The floods have decimated a lot of our land; land which the public would walk and park on, and it’s for this reason, we will need to cancel many of our very popular, income generating events. The safety of our visitors is paramount.
“We’re sure our amazing supporters will understand that they won’t be able to access flood damaged areas. Our supporters are our life line and we’re hoping they will keep an eye on our website and facebook to keep abreast of the events that we are still planning to run including visiting Father Christmas in his Grotto and visiting our giftshop and café .”
At the time of writing, Bransby Horses has advised that the site will remain open to the public, 7 days a week, 9am to 4pm.