Emergency appeal animal protectors Ukraine to EU govern­ments: “Enable the evacu­ation of animals!”

16 מרץ 2022

As many fleeing Ukrainians take their pet along, most European countries have relaxed border regulations to allow them to ‘import’ their beloved animal. Attempts to evacuate larger groups of animals are, however, blocked by ‘import limits’ at the borders – while thousands of animals and their caretakers are trying to survive in war zones, without electricity, water, food or medicine. Local and international organisations and volunteers are working with every means at their disposal to help these animals and humans. They call upon the European governments to allow the ‘import’ of rescued animals from, among other places, animal shelters and zoos in Ukraine, and to amend the procedures to fit the current state of emergency caused by the war.

Photographer: Christopher Occhicone.

The ongoing violence in Ukraine is aggravating the humanitarian crisis as well as the dramatic situation in which millions of animals and their caretakers find themselves - in animal shelters, zoos, breeding facilities and the livestock industry. Animal protectors in and around Ukraine are doing everything in their power to offer help wherever they can. Organisations such as the Ukrainian UAnimals, Animals ID and LKP Lev, the Hungarian Special Animal Rescue Unit and Awakening Planet Foundation, and the Polish Anima International and VIVA! Poland are working day and night to collect funds, food and medication, and to transport these goods across the border. Risking their own lives, volunteers bring food and medicine into the country from bordering nations, and evacuate animals from the war zones.

Help shelter animals get out of the country!
, wolves, and zoo animals have, among other animals, successfully been brought to safety despite extremely difficult circumstances. They were transported to shelters and zoos in Hungary and Poland, amongst other countries. But attempts to save larger groups of, for example, shelter animals by transporting them to shelters abroad, are failing because of strict border controls. Because current restrictions to the number of animals that can be ‘imported’ at once, transports with multiple animals are sent back into dangerous territory.

VIVA Poland and other organisations for animal protection in the region are therefore issuing an urgent appeal to European governments to temporarily simplify the procedures for importing rescued animals from Ukraine. Not just for pets that are travelling with their ‘owners’, but also and especially for larger groups of animals from shelters and breeding facilities, that have to be brought into safety in much larger numbers. Naturally, the organisations stress, these rescue operations would be handled in such a way that they would not threaten the health and safety of animals in the country of destination.

Let refugees keep their pets
Sadly enough, people from Ukraine who did manage to keep their pets with them while making their escape – sometimes by carrying them for miles while walking towards the border – are sometimes forcibly separated from their animal companions at their country of destination. Refugee centres in the Netherlands and Croatia, for example, do not allow animals. The Dutch Party for the Animals has objected to this in parliament and called upon the government to work towards a solution together with municipalities and shelters. “Taking away animal companions from people who have already lost everything is particularly cruel”, states Christine Teunissen, Member of Parliament for the Dutch Party for the Animals.

Donate for people and animals in Ukraine
To cover the costs for food, medicine, gas, and transport vehicles for emergency help and evacuations, a lot of money is needed. The Dutch Party for the Animals has collected about 100,000 euros for emergency aid. House of Animals, as well as other organisations, have organised successful fundraising campaigns as well. Together with sister parties from around the world, the Party for the Animals now calls upon the international community to donate to reliable organisations in the area with whom it has, in many cases, been in contact for years. Help us too! Donate to Animal ID or UAnimal and help animals and humans survive this war.