Frightened, thirsty, hungry, animals are also victims of armed conflicts. Activists unite to come to their aid and try to best support their distraught masters, instead of spending their time playing roulette games.
Volunteers transported 20 cats from a shelter close to Korosten, a region hit by the bombs northwest of Kyiv, to Poland. They traveled for more than 30 hours before arriving in wooden crates tied together with thread and plastic vegetable crates. Later, they were transported to Poland.
Fleeing one’s home, one’s neighborhood, one’s city, and one’s country at war also mean having to make decisions about who will be part of the journey. This was the case for many people wishing to board the crowded and very selective trains that left stations in Ukraine.
In the European Union, there are common rules for the reception of pets: you must apply for identification of the animal, prove the validity of your rabies vaccine and have a European passport for animals. This mainly concerns cats, dogs, and ferrets. Animals originating from the extra-European area are subject to stricter rules depending on the country in which their masters wish to bring them.
For these reasons, when war broke out in Ukraine, many animals had to be abandoned by their owners. “Many shelters in Ukraine collect animals. They informed us of many dogs and cats abandoned in the stations. To be faced with the choice of being able to save their own life or none by staying in Ukraine with their pet… this must be a decision deemed difficult to make,” sadly underlines Daniel Cox, director of campaigns for PETA Germany.
“We had a victory with the relaxed reception conditions,” explains Marie-Morgane Jeanneau, director of campaigns for PETA France. Faced with the demands of many associations and foundations for the protection of animals, Europe has adapted to the extreme conditions of war by offering a much simpler welcome for all these animals. In France, the government specifies that an emergency system has been put in place to accommodate animals that do not meet the usual requirements. Owners of animals who do not meet these criteria must quickly contact “a veterinarian or the Departmental Directorate for the Protection of Populations of the department of destination, in charge of the health surveillance of these animals”.
“Animals are also victims of this conflict, which we do not think why. Our mission at PETA is to help animals wherever they need us,” says the spokesperson for PETA France.
As National Geographic noted in the story of the Masha bear rescue, “Tens of thousands of animals remained in zoos, farms, sanctuaries, shelters, and even on the streets across Ukraine. Food is scarce, especially in places that are under enemy artillery fire, and many areas are inaccessible to outside help. Zoos and sanctuaries say their animals are traumatized by the bombings, cowering at the sound of air raid sirens and explosions, running through fences, and even abandoning their young.”
Marie-Morgane Jeanneau specifies that initially, the association’s teams were based on the border of Poland and Romania. The idea was to welcome people and their animals, offer identification or vaccinations to animals in need. “A clinic has been set up to help and provide care for the animals”, veterinarians offered their help, food or even equipment.
“Many people come with animals in their arms, in improvised cages or even without a transport cage,” says Carmen Arsène, president of the Eduxanima association of the National Federation for the Protection of Animals (FNPA). Located in Romania, 500 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, the Eduxanima association regularly visits Ukrainian clinics and offers assistance in a mobile. There, activists offer food, water, collars, harnesses, leashes.