Sibiu, ROMANIA—The Romanian Red Cross and animal protection organisation Humane Society International have launched an unprecedented agreement to get vital pet food and veterinary supplies into Ukraine to help tackle a worsening animal welfare crisis.
Hundreds of animal shelters, veterinary clinics and rescue centres, as well as thousands of families with pets who remain in Ukraine, are struggling to find food for the animals in their care, and providing veterinary care for injured or sick animals is increasingly challenging as supplies are at risk of running out. In recognition of the clear desire of people in Ukraine to care for the animals caught up alongside them in the war, the Romanian Red Cross will, for the first time ever, add life-saving aid for animals to its humanitarian aid transport. Humane Society International has donated the first tonne of pet food to the Romanian Red Cross, which the agency will take into Ukraine and distribute according to need.
Raluca Morar, executive director Romanian Red Cross Sibiu county, says: “In times like these, we, at the Red Cross know that our most valuable resource is kindness and compassion. Our humanitarian convoys will deliver not only supplies to people in desperate need, but also hope that help in on the way. In times like these we know that not only people, but also animals need help. We are happy and honoured to have Humane Society International on our side, making sure that much needed pet food will also reach Ukraine with our convoys. First ton of dry pet food has reached our loading point in Sibiu, and will be delivered to Ukraine within the next days.”
HSI/Europe’s Romania director, Andreea Roseti, says: “As this conflict continues, people and animals in Ukraine are suffering alongside each other, particularly in those animal shelters and homes where leaving animals behind has simply been an impossible decision to make. We are grateful that the Romanian Red Cross has recognised that the plight of animals in war is inextricably bound up with the plight of the people who live with them and care so deeply about their welfare. We have donated one tonne of emergency pet supplies, the first of many to come, that the Red Cross will distribute within Ukraine to help avert a worsening animal welfare crisis. There are large numbers of pet dogs and cats roaming the streets who have become separated from their families; they are bewildered, traumatised and in need of help. The tragedy of war doesn’t differentiate between two legs or four, and together with the Red Cross we will get aid to those people in Ukraine desperately asking for help to keep their animal friends alive in this crisis.”
HSI is also working with other local animal welfare groups in Germany, Italy and Poland to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict with their beloved pets by providing emergency supplies at refugee reception points. Supported by a generous donation from Mars, Incorporated, the charity is providing pet food, blankets as well as veterinary care for refugees arriving with animal companions. The people accessing these pet support services speak of their relief at being able to save their pets who are an enormous comfort in extremely stressful circumstances, especially for traumatised children. In Germany, HSI is working with animal welfare group Berliner Tiertafel to provide pet food and veterinary treatment. All over Berlin more than 30 vets are already supporting the project to provide aid to refugees and their pets, so that the animals receive urgent veterinary treatments alongside necessary vaccinations and microchips.
HSI’s Germany director, Sylvie Kremerskothen Gleason, says: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is of course a devastating humanitarian crisis, but the beloved dogs, cats and other animals of those fleeing Ukraine are very much part of that refugee story. We have heard from refugees we’re helping in Berlin that the loyal companionship of their pets has kept them and their families going on the arduous journey to safety. For children especially, their pets are an enormous source of comfort to help them cope with the trauma of war. These refugees are frightened and exhausted, so being able to help them care for their pets means they have one less thing to worry about at a time when they need help the most.”