Written by Lea Gormsen and Sophia Stille // 23.03.2022
The current situation of the animals in Ukraine
The last weeks have been shocking, filled with sadness, anger and disbelief. A war in Europe has unfolded and targeted innocent civilians. This is truly something we could not have imagined even in our worst nightmare. The events make us all feel numb and helpless, but at the same time encourages us to help and show our disapproval of the war. Wanting to help the millions who have been displaced because of it. There are a lot of different NGOs working internationally, as well as locally, to support everyone suffering from the war. You can read more about which NGOs are working to help the people in Ukraine, as well as refugees from Ukraine here. At the same time, we should not forget that many animals are suffering the consequences of war as well, because they are either being abandoned or wounded by military combat. This article gives you some overview of how you can help the animals left behind needing human help to survive.
Due to the situation in Ukraine all EU member states have opened the possibility to apply exemptions on the non-commercial movement of pets. Fortunately, many member states have lifted the restrictions completely, so that families can take their pets with them when they flee. The member states where this is now possible are: Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Denmark and The Netherlands. Although pets can join their human family fleeing the war, this is not the case for other animals, such as farm or zoo animals. Therefore, many NGOs are doing lifesaving work for animals left in the country. Animal shelters are facing enormous difficulties because they cannot move entire shelters around. Brave people have stayed behind to make sure the animals at the shelters are not left to die alone.
Which organizations are working to protect animals in Ukraine and neighbouring countries?
To support the people and animals who stayed in Ukraine and the ones fleeing, you can donate to organisations working in Ukraine or neighbouring regions. Below we list some of the NGOs that are working for animals affected by the war and need your support, but of course this list is not exhaustive. It can give you an idea which organizations exist and how you can support them.
- Karg: is a volunteer-driven organization rescuing animals in the Kyiv region since 2014. They are still active but of course their work has gotten harder with the start of the war. They consult people who want to save animals from abandoned homes and help with rescues if it is possible. They are mainly in need of food and medications for the animals.
- Save the Dog and other Animals: is a Romanian based organization that is helping the animals crossing the borders from Ukraine. Already 70.000 people have arrived in Romania to find a safe place to stay, and the organization is driving to the borders with supplies for pets including food, cages, blankets, toys etc.
- Happy Paw: is an animal welfare organization based in Ukraine. Happy Paw helps more than 60 shelters in Ukraine. They are now trying to give the donations directly to the shelters because the logistic blockage of supplies is making it hard to supply the shelters with food etc.
- Four Paws: started helping in Ukraine only a few days after the war began. The organization is helping stray animals in Ukraine and also operating the bear sanctuary Domazhyr. They have a stray animal care team operating in Ukraine now and are in daily contact with 30 Ukrainian colleagues. They also help Ukrainian people that are fleeing with their pets by providing them leashes, food, transport cages, blankets etc.
- Sirius Shelter: is an animal shelter in the Kyiv region that is taking care of homeless, stray and abandoned animals. They are struggling to feed all the animals, as all the corridors coming from Western Ukraine are controlled by the Russian army (03.03.2022). They are currently taking care of more than 3000 dogs and 200 cats. 23 employees are around to take care of the animals.
- World Horse Welfare: is one of the few organizations working on helping horses and their owners affected by the war. The organization is raising funds on behalf of British Equestrian and the UK’s equine sector and providing emergency support for the equines, and their owners and carers in Ukraine. They are working with local partners such as the Ukrainian and Polish Equestrian Federation and any donation will help.
- Peta: is also directly assisting people and animals in Ukraine, providing on-the-ground assistance, and delivering supplies including 40,000 pounds of pet food to shelters in Ukraine. They also have a website where you can be updated on the newest regulations and information on where and how to transport animals safely.
- IFAW: the International Fund for Animal Welfare is working closely together with partners in Ukraine to help animals in shelters, zoos and sanctuaries. Their team is situated in Poland, coordinating between Ukrainian and Polish partners and shelters.
The important message that all of these organizations are trying to get out there is: do not leave your pets behind because they cannot survive without their human guardians. The above-mentioned organizations will try to help the refugees fleeing with their animals as best as they can, and some of the NGOs will help the animals that were left behind. For more information about what you can do to help the animals, check the website of the eurogroup for animals here!