Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s been reported that more than one million people have now fled, many with their beloved pets in their arms. The unpredictability of the devastating war has forced many Ukrainians to make tough choices of what to take with them. Many don’t know when and if they will be able to return home.
The EU is predicting the number of refugees could rise to four million very soon. While this is extremely devastating for the innocent people of Ukraine, animals are often forgotten as victims in times like these.
James Sawyer, the director of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), told Radio 1 Newsbeat,
“The devastation caused by some of these rocket attacks, that open environment full of glass, concrete, and metal is dangerous to people but also to animals.”
His UK organization supports shelters in Ukraine and tries its best to send the necessary supplies and monetary resources. Many shelters are struggling to get the supplies and food they need for the animals amid the constant explosions across the country.
Sawyer added, “local supplies are running out, one of the two animal shelters we support has been damaged by shells, losing one of the animals.”
It’s too dangerous for Sawyer and his team to help in person, so they’re supporting animal shelters as much as they can from the UK. This includes sending emergency aid to shelters. Some brave heroes are staying behind to help the animals, like a man who said he would rather die than leave his 400 animals. Some shelters report that they’re too scared to light fires in case it draws attention.
According to PETA Germany, they have teams on the border helping to safely get animals across the border. Similarly, there are many organizations on the border of Poland taking animals to safety. Many organizations in Romania are also offering their help, including free vaccinations for cats and dogs.
The European Commission has advised all EU Member States to soften veterinary paperwork requirements for pets traveling with Ukrainian refugees. Pets will be allowed into the EU Member States without any paperwork delay. This will be a massive relief to Ukrainians seeking safety with their pets.
There have been many donations of money and food to these shelters, and animal shelters and zoos are slowly making their way to borders to seek safety, but situations aren’t easy. A zoo in Kyiv was recently evacuating to Poland when Russian tanks surrounded them. Thankfully, they made it safely over the border, but these situations are not easy on the animals and leave them stressed and traumatized.
How can we help? Many organizations that are assisting Ukraine are accepting donations.
If you are in the UK, you can urge your member of parliament (MP) to relax the rules on people entering the UK with animals.
Sign this petition to support Ukraine!
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- Cat Cafe in Ukraine Stays Open With Their 20 Cats Amid Russian Invasion
- Ukrainian Man Refuses To Abandon His Animal Shelter and Would ‘Rather Die’ Than Leave Them
- Ukraine Zoo Animals Evacuated to Poland and Surrounded by Russian Tanks
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