International animal charity and global airline association publish guidance to get cats and dogs to safety in times of crisis

Humane Society International / Europe


UAnimals

BRUSSELS — Animal protection organisation Humane Society International has collaborated with the International Air Transport Association to publish a list of considerations for governments and the air transport supply chain to facilitate the safe passage of pet cats and dogs in times of crisis who are evacuating or taking refuge with their owners.

The considerations are based on the IATA Live Animals Regulations publication which is the global standard for transporting animals by air in a safe and humane manner.

Considerations include:

  • Introducing flexibility in documentation requirements —governments relaxing veterinary travel paperwork requirements for dogs, cats and other companion animals.
  • Assessing ground storage facilities —airport communities identifying additional storage facilities that are compliant with the requirement for the safety of live animals.
  • Providing additional information —stakeholders evaluating communications materials to provide clear and consistent information to pet owners across all customer service channels including call centers, email, chat and social media channels.
  • Collaborating with pet shipping companies and crate manufacturers —airport communities seeking the help of these entities to make available additional live animal transport containers (cabin and hold) at major departure points.

Katherine Polak, vice president of companion animals and engagement at Humane Society International and member of the IATA Companion Animal Temporary Task Force, said: “In times of crisis, the importance of keeping pets and people together can’t be understated. The special bond we have with our much-loved animal companions is highly important, and during conflicts and crises they provide comfort and a sense of stability for those who have been through so much. HSI’s pet relief aid work with Ukrainian refugees showed the lengths that people will go to in order to get their animals to safety. So, we are incredibly proud to collaborate with IATA to help ensure refugees are able to take their beloved four-legged family members with them, so that no matter what the conflict or crisis, wherever in the world, pets and their people can stay together.”

Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s global head of cargo said: “Aviation is a critical first responder in crises situations. The humanitarian response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was no different. Aviation helped people flee to safety and delivered humanitarian aid, and airlines with operations on the front line of the crisis recognized the importance of helping families stay united with their pets. Airlines on the frontline of the crisis —KLM, LOT Polish Airlines and Bulgaria Air —were leaders among airlines introducing measures to help those taking refuge bring their pets with them. The European Commission also addressed the issue by advising all EU member states to relax veterinary paperwork requirements for the dogs, cats and other companion animals traveling with refugees. Through our work with HSI we have learned from this experience and the industry will be even better prepared for future crises.”

ENDS

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Humane Society International / Europe


HSI

BRUSSELS—In a joint position paper, 137 conservation and animal protection organizations from all around the world, including 45 non-governmental organizations from African countries, speak out against trophy hunting and urge policymakers to ban imports.

Mona Schweizer from Pro Wildlife says: “Trophy hunting stands out among the worst forms of wildlife exploitation and is neither ethical nor sustainable. In the face of the man-made global biodiversity crisis, it is unacceptable that exploitation of wildlife simply for acquiring a hunting trophy is still permitted and that trophies can still be legally imported. It is high time that governments end this detrimental practice.”

Between 2014 and 2018 almost 125,000 trophies of species protected under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) were imported globally, with the US and the EU featuring as the biggest importers.

Trophy hunting can adversely affect the survival of species and undermine conservation efforts. Trophy hunters often target rare and imperilled species or animals with impressive physical traits and remove individuals who are essential for reproduction and stabilizing social groups. By targeting such animals, trophy hunters, directly and indirectly, contribute to population declines, disrupted social structure, and reduced resilience. The industry drives demand for parts and products of endangered species and incentivizes and prioritizes their killing through award schemes and other promotions.

Furthermore, shooting animals of protected and endangered species is often a privilege of foreign hunters, while access to wildlife and land is often restricted for locals. This disenfranchisement of local communities coupled with the social destabilising effects of trophy hunting on many species can fuel human-animal conflict rather than mitigate it. Such situations are further exacerbated by the fact that the trophy hunting industry fails to deliver meaningful economic benefits to local communities, contrary to what is claimed by the pro-trophy hunting narrative. In fact, as most hunts are conducted on private land and the hunting sector is plagued with corruption, trophy hunting revenues usually end up in the pockets of hunting operators, private farm owners and local elites.

Mark Jones, head of policy at Born Free, commented: “At Born Free, we have long campaigned for an end to trophy hunting on moral and ethical grounds. In this time of crisis for wildlife and biodiversity, it cannot be right for European hunters to be able to pay to kill threatened wild animals, either within the EU or overseas, and ship the trophies home. Trophy hunting causes immense animal suffering while doing little or nothing for wildlife conservation or local communities. Indeed, in many cases trophy hunters remove key individual animals from fragile populations, damaging their social and genetic integrity. It’s time for the European Union’s policymakers to listen to the overwhelming majority of their citizens, and bring trophy hunting within the EU and the import of trophies to a permanent end, while seeking alternative, more effective ways of resourcing wildlife protection and local community development.”

Trophy hunting not only hampers conservation efforts and generates minimal economic benefits, but also raises ethical and animal welfare concerns. Shooting animals for fun simply to obtain a trophy as a status symbol is ethically unjustifiable, disregards their intrinsic value by reducing them to commodities, and puts a price tag on death reflecting the amount foreign hunters are willing to pay for the kill. Moreover, trophy hunters frequently employ and incentivize hunting methods that increase the suffering of the animal, such as the use of bows and arrows, muzzleloaders, handguns or dogs chasing animals for hours to exhaustion.

Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs at Humane Society International/Europe, said: “Economic benefit – which is minimal at best in the trophy hunting industry – is no excuse to allow the inhumane killing of animals for entertainment or to make up for the often irreversible biological and ecological damages it causes to protected species when there are alternative, more lucrative revenue streams available for development and conservation efforts. As the largest importers of hunting trophies in the world, the US and EU have a moral obligation to stop contributing to this harmful industry through hunting trophy imports and to institute policies that support ethical forms of foreign aid, tourism and industry.”

In many countries around the world, citizens oppose trophy hunting and the import of hunting trophies. Surveys in the EU, Switzerland and the US confirm that between 75% and 96% of respondents oppose trophy hunting and support import bans for trophies. In South Africa, the major African exporter of hunting trophies of protected species, a majority of 64% respondents disapproves of trophy hunting.

Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals, concluded: “With the unethical practice of trophy hunting harming species conservation and the economy for decades, a policy shift is long overdue. Together, with a united voice of 137 NGOs from all around the world, we call on governments to take responsibility for the protection of species and biodiversity–and to ban the import of hunting trophies.”

ENDS

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Reassessing our food systems and intensive livestock farming must be high on the COP27 agenda

Humane Society International / Europe


Cows in a feed lot
dhughes9/iStock.com

BONN, Germany—Today, given the urgent need to make transformative shifts across food systems World Animal Protection and Humane Society International hosted an event, A just protein transition for sustainability, biodiversity and the climate’, at the UN Bonn Climate Change Conference. The panelists highlighted the need for more attention to be placed on industrial livestock production as a significant driver of climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) to be held in Egypt in November. They are also asking for policymakers to take comprehensive action to drive a global transformation of our food production system and consumption habits, if we are to have any hope of meeting Paris Agreement targets.

The panel made-up of experts in food, climate, and animal welfare made the case for why a just protein transition is a crucial step towards reducing emissions. Speakers highlighted the importance for a just, humane and sustainable protein transition for Asia, as the largest meat producing region in the world, accounting for around 45% of total meat production, and forecasted to account for 53% of global trade by 2029.

“The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate report is clear: we are not on track to keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees of warming as per the Paris Agreement,” said Stephanie Maw, public affairs and campaign officer for Humane Society International UK. “We need rapid transformations across all systems, including food systems, to avoid the worst climate impacts and address the mass animal suffering caused by industrial farming.​”

“The scale of the suffering of billions of animals trapped in intensive factory farms is alarming and its very existence should shock and shame us, but it is also doing untold damage to our health, to biodiversity, to workers and to our entire planet,” said World Animal Protection CEO Steve McIvor.

“With a human population projected to surpass 9.7 billion people by 2050, combined with growing demand for meat and dairy, particularly across Asia and Africa, the spread of industrial livestock systems around the world will significantly increase their already devastating impact the environment, climate, public health, human rights and animal welfare in the years to come. Enabled in a timely manner, a just transition in livestock production would not only help mitigate the climate crisis, but could also serve as a strong driver of job creation, social justice, poverty reduction and better public health,” said Lasse Bruun, 50by40 CEO.

In response to these trends, World Animal Protection and 50by40, brought together 40 Asia-based civil society organisations working on climate change, public health, finance, smallholder farming, and human and consumer rights in March 2022 to map out the negative impacts of how protein is currently being produced, and to identify pathways for a shift toward a just, humane and sustainable protein system in Asia.

“Asia’s footprint as the largest meat producing region with significant growth forecast over the next 10 years is of great concern, will spike the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. The projection that Southeast Asia will become the fastest growing importer of soya for animal feed by 2022, will further aggravate climate change by threatening biodiversity and forest conservation. Given this context, the Communique titled ‘Asia Civil Society Call for a Just, Humane and Sustainable Protein Transition’ and its advocacy strategy, is an important and timely initiative to disrupt this unsustainable and climate-damaging trend,” said Nithi Nesadurai, Director and Regional Coordinator of Climate Action Network Southeast Asia.

ENDS

Media Contacts:

  • Elodie Guillon, network manager, World Animal Protection, +66818603483, elodieguillon@worldanimalprotection.org
  • David Garrahy, external affairs manager, World Animal Protection, +32 470 17 44 87, DavidGarrahy@worldanimalprotection.org
  • Shweta Sood, head of programme, 50by40, + 91 99717 56347, shweta.sood@50by40.org
  • Madeline Bove, media relations specialist, Humane Society International, 213-248-1548, mbove@humanesociety.org

Notes to editors:

The communique calls on world leaders at COP27 to put a halt to further expansion of factory farming systems and to recognise that a just, humane and sustainable protein transition is crucial to ensure that our global food system is in alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the objectives of the UN Food Summit and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the latest IPCC report, global carbon emissions need to be cut by at least 43% in the next eight years if we are to have any chance of meeting the 1.5 C warming target. The IPCC report also noted that even if fossil fuel emissions were halted now, current trends in global food systems emissions would make it impossible to reach the Paris Agreement goal

Globally, the livestock sector already accounts for at least 14.5% of current global greenhouse gas emissions, according to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Under a “business-as-usual” scenario, livestock production is projected to take up 81% of the global 1.5°C GHG budget by 2050, according to GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

Humane Society International / Europe


HSI

BRUSSELS—Today, on International Endangered Species Day, Humane Society International/Europe is launching a new image under its #NotInMyWorld campaign featuring the image of an African lion trophy who has been packaged for shipping.

The #NotInMyWorld campaign aims to raise awareness about the involvement of the European Union in the trophy hunting industry and consequently its contribution in the decline in endangered species as the world’s second-largest importer of trophies. The lion joins the African elephant and black rhino in the sad lineup of threatened and endangered animals who are killed for fun and bragging rights by trophy hunters. HSI/Europe is honoring International Endangered Species Day by continuing the fight to end Europe’s contribution to the cruel and senseless killing of endangered wild animals for pleasure and is urging decision makers to institute policy changes that would prohibit the import of such species as trophies and reduce demand for their parts and products.

Hundreds of thousands of wild animals, including endangered or threatened species, are slain around the globe by trophy hunters each year. For many of us, it is hard to imagine that this industry has a strong foothold in the European Union. Yet it does: the EU is the world’s second-largest importer of mammal trophies, second only to the United States. Between 2014 and 2018, the EU imported nearly 15,000 hunting trophies—around eight per day—of 73 internationally protected species. Over those five years, the number of trophies coming into the EU increased by 40%, despite opinion polls indicating that the vast majority of EU citizens surveyed are clearly against trophy hunting and would like to see an end to this brutal industry.

Joanna Swabe, PhD, senior director of public affairs for HSI/Europe, says: “Killing the largest or strongest animals, who play an important ecological role in genetic diversity and resilience, jeopardises species conservation, disrupts social herd structures and weakens gene pools of wild animal populations already facing a myriad of threats. The conservation argument is a sham employed by people who know it is unsavoury to admit they simply enjoy killing animals for fun and tasteless selfies. With so much at stake, and the vast majority of EU citizens opposed to the killing, it’s time for the EU and its Member States to ban trophy imports.”

The #NotInMyWorld campaign helped bring this important issue to light by reaching millions of people within the EU. With new Instagram filters and shareable 3D animated images of packed elephants, rhinoceros and lion trophies, the public is encouraged to share these resources on social media and to urge governments to join the fight to save these imperiled species before they are gone forever.

Fortunately, the fight is gaining momentum. The public erupted in outrage over the recent news of the killing of two of Botswana’s biggest elephants and governments and institutions are taking note and giving the issue of trophy hunting the attention it deserves. In recent weeks and months:

  • The High Court of the Western Cape granted an interim suspension of relevant hunting quotas in the application for an interim interdict against the South AfricanDepartment of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s 2022 hunting and export quotas for leopard, black rhino and elephant.
  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ethics Specialist Group called on the German government to end the practice of trophy hunting imports for ethical, ecological and legal reasons. This was followed by an announcement from the Environment Minister Steffi Lemke of the intention to restrict the import of hunting trophies from protected animal species to Germany.
  • The Belgian Federal Parliament unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the government immediately stop authorizing trophy import permits of species protected under certain international trade regulations.
  • In Italy, a bill to ban the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species—the first of its kind in Italy–was presented to the Chamber of Deputies in Rome.
  • The Spanish Parliamentary Association for the Defense of Animal Rights presented a motion for resolution to prohibit the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species listed in Annexes A and B of the Wildlife Trade Regulations.
  • The United Kingdom committed to one to one of the world’s strongest policies banning the import of hunting trophies of over 7,000 protected species.

Prior to these developments, the Netherlands and France pioneered this paradigm shift in Europe. In 2015, France implemented a ban on the import of lion hunting trophies. In the same year, the Dutch government adopted a decision to ban the trophy imports of over 200 species, which came into force in 2016.

While Member State action is crucial in achieving these policy goals, HSI/Europe urges the EU Commission to take responsibility and a leadership role by instituting a unified approach to restrict the import into the EU of trophies from species at risk of extinction.

ENDS

Media contact: Adeline Fischer, communications senior manager: afischer@hsi.org ; +49 17631063219

Making progress

Humane Society International / Europe


Guenter Guni/iStock.com

With the European Union the world’s second largest importer of hunting trophies after the United States, HSI/Europe is calling on EU citizens and politicians to take action to stop the EU’s involvement in this grotesque and unsustainable killing.

Fortunately, the fight is gaining momentum. Governments and institutions are taking note and giving the issue of trophy hunting the attention it deserves.

In recent weeks and months:

  • The High Court of the Western Cape granted an interim suspension of relevant hunting quotas in the application for an interim interdict against the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s 2022 hunting and export quotas for leopard, black rhino and elephant.
  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ethics Specialist Group called on the German government to end the practice of trophy hunting imports for ethical, ecological and legal reasons. This was followed by an announcement from the Environment Minister Steffi Lemke of the intention to restrict the import of hunting trophies from protected animal species to Germany.
  • The Belgian Federal Parliament unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the government immediately stop authorizing trophy import permits of species protected under certain international trade regulations.
  • In Italy, a bill to ban the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species—the first of its kind in Italy–was presented at the Chamber of Deputies in Rome.
  • The Spanish Parliamentary Association for the Defense of Animal Rights presented a motion for resolution to prohibit the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species listed in Annexes A and B of the Wildlife Trade Regulations.
  • The United Kingdom committed to one to one of the world’s strongest policies banning the import of hunting trophies of over 7,000 protected species.

Prior to these developments, the Netherlands and France pioneered this paradigm shift in Europe. In 2015, France implemented a ban on the import of lion hunting trophies. In the same year, the Dutch government adopted a decision to ban the trophy imports of over 200 species, which came into force in 2016.

Humane Society International/Europe warns of pets being abandoned because some travel companies refuse their transport

Humane Society International / Europe


Giovanni Tesei Photography

BRUSSELS—Travel companies are urged by Humane Society International/Europe to provide safe, pet-friendly passage for Ukrainian refugees travelling with their animals, to avoid cats, dogs and others being abandoned at bus or airplane terminals due to being refused travel.

The animal protection charity’s teams in Poland and Romania were alerted that refugees attempting to travel further into the EU are faced with the impossible decision to leave their pets behind due to pet transport obstacles and restrictions. HSI/Europe has reached out to 75 leading European transport companies whose services are used by Ukrainian refugees, with an appeal to remove the barriers for a safe pet-friendly passage.

Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe, says: “With many European travel companies refusing to let Ukrainian refugees travel with their animals, we’re seeing a worrying number of cats and dogs being left behind at local shelters, charities and with relatives, or even released near airports or bus stations. This agonising dilemma unnecessarily adds to the stress that refugees are already enduring, because their companion animals are beloved members of their extended family. It also puts additional pressure on local charities and authorities, who have to find a solution for the animals coming from Ukraine. HSI/Europe has reached out to transport companies across Europe asking them to do everything within their power and resources to help Ukrainian refugees with pets gain access to planes and buses. Several leading companies have responded and are doing great work to make travel pet friendly. However, more transport companies must step in to ensure that no one fleeing Ukraine is needlessly separated from their companion animal.”

The appeal is addressed to freight forwarders, cargo handlers, shippers and other stakeholders in the transport industry in addition to bus and airline companies. HSI/Europe is urging them to:

  • Ease the procedures and restrictions for taking animals on board.
  • Inform and empower their staff to make safe pet-friendly decisions.
  • Reduce or waive the fees for transporting animals.
  • Increase the number of animals permitted on board and provide pet carriers to passengers who need them.

Airlines, bus and train companies that do not transport pets can also help by stating their policies and regulations clearly on their websites, and by providing free phone support in multiple languages.

A growing number of airline, bus and freight companies have already responded positively, showing that safe pet-friendly passage of Ukrainian refugees is possible. HSI is collaborating with LOT Polish Airlines to provide pet crates and pet transport for free for passengers holding Ukrainian nationality for LOT flights departing from Warsaw and Krakow between May 1-31, 2022. The free pet transport is for cats, dogs and ferrets travelling with the owner in the cabin, or in the baggage hold. The airline is also taking more pets on board. KLM and Bulgaria Air also offer free pet transport. The Polish bus company Szwagropol, and Europe’s largest long-distance bus service FlixBus—which also manages Eurolines in Romania, Italy, Spain and France—will allow pets on board and empowers staff to adapt procedures when safe to do so. Professional pet shippers IMG and Budapest Vet Cargo are providing free advice and support for obtaining the necessary travel documentation and vaccinations. Positive reactions are lacking from budget airlines.

More than 5.8 million Ukrainians have left their country since the start of the war, many bringing along their beloved companion animals. Authorities and nonprofit organizations in neighboring countries are facing huge pressure to care for the refugees and pets. The travel industry can facilitate by ensuring refugees and their pets can continue their journey to safety together.

ENDS

Reference in this press release to any specific commercial brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public only, and does not constitute or imply endorsement by Humane Society International or any of its affiliates.

Media contact: Yavor Gechev, communications director for HSI/Europe: ygechev@hsi.org

 

Humane Society International / Europe


HSI

BERLIN—Humane Society International supports the announcement by Environment Minister Steffi Lemke to restrict the import of hunting trophies from protected animal species to Germany. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ethics Specialist Group recently called on the German government in a letter to end the practice of trophy hunting imports for ethical, ecological and legal reasons. This prompted 14 animal and species protection associations, including Humane Society International, to call again for a ban on the import of hunting trophies of protected species. Iconic wildlife expert and United Nations Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall also supported this call to action and spoke out against trophy hunting of protected species.

“The announcement by the German Environment Minister is an important signal also at the EU level for more animal and species protection,” said Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe. “The reaction of the hunting lobby to this paradigm shift is disappointing. It is significant that false myths that have been scientifically disproven are repeated by big game hunters.”

Prof. Klaus Bosselmann, chair emeritus of the Ethics Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, who is one of the authors of the letter to  Minister Lemke, reacted to the minister’s statement and said: “Trophy hunting unnecessarily threatens the survival and genetic integrity of protected species in the midst of the current crisis of the sixth mass species extinction. It is overdue that Germany, as the largest importer of hunting trophies in the EU, takes action. We congratulate the Environment Minister Steffi Lemke on this important step for a sustainable and ethical protection of species.”

Sylvie Kremerskothen Gleason, HSI in Germany’s country director, said: “Trophy hunting of protected species is done by a small group who does not want to give up privileges from colonial times. The fact is that the local population does not significantly benefit from trophy hunting and most of the money from the multi-million dollar business goes into the pockets of the hunting organizers. It is now important that the minister continues down this new path guided by scientific facts and ethical considerations. The trophy hunters’ transparent vote-baiting exposes their real interests in trophy hunting which benefits neither the species, the environment nor the local population.”

In 2021 Humane Society International launched its global campaign against the import of hunting trophies of protected species. Several European countries have already committed to stop the import of hunting trophies: France and the Netherlands have had import restrictions on certain hunting trophies since 2015 and 2016; the United Kingdom has committed to one of the strongest trophy import bans in the world; and Belgium, Italy, Poland, Spain and other countries are currently considering concrete legislative initiatives and resolutions against such imports.

The position that the German Environment Ministry has taken is in line with a political movement to end this cruel practice of killing animals for the sake of a trophy that threatens the survival of many wild species.

Background information:

  • Humane Society International/Europe’s report “Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: The European Union’s role in global trophy hunting” reveals the extent of Germany’s involvement in the global trophy hunting industry. Between 2014 and 2020, more than 5,400 trophies of internationally protected animals were imported into Germany. EU-wide, Germany ranks first with these imports. Viewed globally, Germany is the second largest importer of hunting trophies of protected species behind the United States.
  • The Netherlands banned trophies of over 200 species in 2016.
  • France banned imports of lion trophies in 2015.
  • The United Kingdom has committed to one to one of the world’s strongest policies banning the import of hunting trophies of over 7,000 protected species.
  • In Belgium, Italy, Poland, Spain and other countries, there are currently concrete legislative initiatives and resolutions against corresponding imports.
  • According to a 2021 representative survey, an overwhelming majority of Germans (89%) oppose the import of hunting trophies.

ENDS

Press contact: Eva-Maria Heinen, communications and PR manager in Italy and Germany, Humane Society International/Europe: presse@hsi-europe.org;  +49 (0)160 94491788

 

Humane Society International / Europe


Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the cost of veterinary care for the pets of refugees. Charlotte Brocker for HSI

Update: The deadline for this program has been extended to 31 August 2022.

Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war with their pets can access free veterinary treatment in countries across Europe thanks to Vets for Ukrainian Pets. Download leaflet.

Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the cost of veterinary care of dogs, cats, horses or other pet animals, where care is considered necessary by a professional veterinarian.

 

What kind of veterinary care is covered by Vets for Ukrainian Pets?

  • Certification/licensing requirements—legalisation of a pet in a European country where these costs are not already being funded by national authorities. This may include rabies vaccination, rabies serology, parasite treatment, microchip implantation/registration and official documentation.
  • Standard preventive care—core vaccinations and parasite treatments to ensure the overall health of the animal.
  • Medication (up to four months’ supply)—medicines previously prescribed by a veterinarian or needed to treat a newly identified condition. This includes previously prescribed medications that did not accompany the pet during evacuation, or for which supplies have been depleted.
  • Acute care—treatment for acute conditions where the prognosis following treatment is good, such as wounds, ear inflammation or alleviation of pain.

What veterinary clinics participate in this scheme?
All licenced clinics and practicing veterinarians throughout Europe are eligible to participate. Please ask at the nearest veterinary clinic.

What if I have more than one pet requiring care?
The plan covers costs for up to five pets or horses. If you have more than five pets in need of veterinary care, please discuss this with the clinic.

Do I have to pay at the clinic and then ask for reimbursement?
No, the veterinary care is free. We will reimburse the clinic up to €250 for each animal.

What if the plan cannot cover the care my pet needs?
We encourage veterinarians to provide discounted or free-of-charge care where other funding or charity contributions are insufficient to cover the full cost.

How long will the Vets for Ukrainian Pets plan be available?
The plan will be running until 30 June 2022. If you need veterinary care for your pet or horse beyond that date, please contact Humane Society International at VetsUkrainePets@hsi.org.

Where can I find more information on Vets for Ukrainian Pets?
Please visit our website: apply.vetsforukraine.com/how-it-works/.

Vets for Ukrainian Pets is fully funded by Humane Society International, with the generous support of Mars, Incorporated, in collaboration with the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations.



Vets for Ukrainian Pets launched by Humane Society International and veterinary associations in 38 European countries

Humane Society International / Europe


Beata Zawrzel/HSUS Kelly Donithan of Humane Society International is checking the condition of a cat named Luntik, which fled from Ukraine with its owners, who are now staying at a shelter at the reception point in Lubycza Krolewska, while the ongoing Russian attacks on Ukraine, on 23, March.

Update: This program has been extended to 31 August 2022.

BRUSSELS—Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war with their pets in tow will now be able to access free veterinary treatment in 38 European countries, thanks to an unprecedented program called Vets for Ukrainian Pets. Launched by animal charity Humane Society International and partners, Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the treatment costs of dogs, cats, horses or other pet animals, up to 250 Euros per animal, for acute care and medication, rabies and other vaccinations as well as microchipping and medical examination required for safe passage through the EU.

Vets for Ukrainian Pets is being fully funded by HSI, with the generous support of Mars, Incorporated, in collaboration with Federation of Veterinarians in Europe and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. Reimbursements for participating veterinarians will be available wherever the FECAVA has members, including in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Romania and Poland, as well as Ukraine.

Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe, says: “In Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since WWII, millions of Ukrainians have had to take the decision to leave their country and flee the war. Along with a few possessions, many are also taking their pet animals, who they cherish as family members. The trauma of war as well as the stress of the evacuation journey, can make animals vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and so HSI’s Vets for Ukrainian Pets program aims to eliminate barriers to accessing veterinary care for the pets of refugees. It will provide a much-needed safety net for those families fleeing with their beloved pets so that at no point they feel compelled to leave their pets behind due to concerns about being able to care for them.”

Just days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the European Commission recommended that member states ease requirements for the entry of pets from Ukraine. At least 13 EU member states have since temporarily lifted or modified their import restrictions on companion animals, including rabies requirements. However, there is no standardized policy across the EU regarding the entry of pets from Ukraine. While vaccination and microchipping of animals is being provided at some border crossings, not all animals receive such services and therefore fail to meet the national requirements for entry.

Rens van Dobbenburgh, president of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, says: “We are grateful to start this joint project together with our sister organisation FECAVA and with the much-appreciated support of Humane Society International. Through this joint project, we will offer a strong, free pet healthcare response to ensure that those arriving with their beloved pets, many that are vulnerable, receive the care and treatment they need. This is about emergency care, long-term treatment for chronic conditions as well as routine health checks.”

Danny Holmes, FECAVA President Elect says: “We are delighted to partner with Humane Society International and FVE to offer support to refugees’ pets in Europe fleeing the war in Ukraine. It is a testament to the dedication of the veterinary and animal welfare organisations to create such a far-reaching scheme in such a short time.”

Vets for Ukrainian Pets will run until 21 May 2022 and is open for all licensed veterinary clinics to apply throughout Europe, whether owned privately or as part of a corporate group. Those clinics wishing to join the program can apply at apply.vetsforukraine.com/. HSI hopes that Vets for Ukrainian Pets will become a vital part of the collective efforts of European veterinarians to provide assistance to refugees from Ukraine, and urges all practicing vets, whenever possible, to find ways in which to help, by providing discounted or free of charge care where other funding or charity contributions are insufficient to cover the full cost.

Additional information

Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the following costs for companion animals and equines of Ukrainian refugees, up to 250 Euros per animal, with a limit of five animals per vet:

  • Certification/Licensing Requirements—Any costs associated with legalisation of a pet in a European country where these costs are not being funded by national authorities. This may include rabies vaccination, rabies serology, parasite treatment, microchip implantation/registration and official documentation.
  • Standard Preventive Care—The costs of core vaccinations and parasite treatments to ensure the overall health of the animal, particularly when infectious disease transmission is a concern.
  • Medication (up to four months’ supply)—The costs of any medication previously prescribed by a veterinary surgeon or to treat a newly identified condition which is considered necessary. This may include animals with chronic conditions whose families may not have been able to bring medication when they evacuated or whose supplies have been depleted.
  • Acute Care—Treatment for acute conditions where the prognosis following treatment is good. Examples might include treatment of wounds, ear inflammation or alleviation of pain.

Every registered practicing veterinarian in Europe can apply to become part of the programme and can make up to five claims for refunding the cost of treatment for pet animals of Ukrainian refugees by using the website apply.vetsforukraine.com/. In exceptional cases, where a veterinarian has to provide care for a larger number of animals, they should contact HSI at VetsUkrainePets@hsi.org

Download Photos/Video

ENDS

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Today the Belgian Federal Parliament unanimously passed a resolution demanding the government to immediately stop the authorization of trophy import permits of species protected under certain international trade regulations.

Humane Society International / Europe


Vanessa Mignon 

BRUSSELS—Today the Belgium Parliament took a significant step against the import and trade in animal trophies, adopting with overwhelming support a resolution urging the government to immediately end the authorisation of trophy import permits of certain threatened and endangered species. Among those included are the rhinoceros, African elephant, lion, polar bear and argali sheep, which are listed in Annex A of the EU’s regulation on trade in plants and animals. The resolution also includes certain animal species listed in Annex B of the same regulation.

Kris Verduyckt (Vooruit, Flemish Socialists), Melissa Depraetere (Vooruit, Flemish Socialists) and Mélissa Hanus (PS, Francophone Socialists), who originally submitted a legislative proposal to ban hunting trophy imports in 2020, expressed their delight at the result of their efforts at this critical step towards achieving their goals. Verduyckt said: “Concretely, it means, based on this decision, that Minister Zakia Khattabi [minister of Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal of Belgium] can now stop issuing import licenses. Her party colleagues have already stated in the Energy, Climate and Environment committee that this will happen soon. I hope that other countries will now follow suit and there will soon be a full ban in place at the European level.”

Humane Society International/Europe praises the Belgian Federal Parliament for its efforts to protect biodiversity and threatened and endangered species. Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe, said: “Trophy hunting has no place in modern society. With this decision by the Belgian Parliament, we are one step closer to ending the unnecessary and cruel hunting of species on the brink of extinction who don’t deserve to be killed for a trophy. We would like to thank everyone involved in the critical efforts made, especially the sponsor, Kris Verduyckt MP.”

The resolution is in line with the major public interest in Belgium on animal welfare. The country has some of the highest levels of opposition to trophy hunting among EU Member States. According to the results of a survey by Ipsos commissioned by Humane Society International/Europe, 91% of Belgians oppose trophy hunting and 88% support the prohibition of importing any kind of hunting trophy at all.

Belgium is not the first country to take action to stop its involvement in this anachronistic and cruel practice that endangers the survival of many wild species. Neighboring countries have already banned hunting trophy imports:

  • The Netherlands banned trophies of over 200 species in 2016.
  • France banned imports of lion trophies in 2015.
  • In March 2022, the Spanish Parliamentary Association in Defence of Animal Rights  hosted an expert panel in the Congress of Deputies titled, “Let’s ban the import of hunting trophies of endangered species” where they presented a motion for resolution to prohibit the trophy imports of protected species.
  • The Honorables Vittorio Ferraresi and Francesca Flati (M5S) introduced the first bill in the Italian Chamber of Deputies to ban the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species.
  • Members of the Finnish Parliament presented a motion containing a proposal for a ban.
  • Switzerland and the United Kingdom committed to stopping the imports of hunting trophies from protected species. The United Kingdom policy would be the toughest ban on importing hunting trophies ever.

Some of the initiatives follow the 2021 publication of the HSI/Europe report, Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: The European Union’s Role in Global Trophy Hunting, which highlights the European Union’s devastating contribution to the trophy hunting industry as the world’s second largest importer of hunting trophies after the United States. From 2014 to 2018, the EU imported nearly 15,000 hunting trophies—eight per day—of 73 internationally protected species. Over those five years, the number of trophies coming into the EU increased by 40%.

In 2019 and 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19, European trophy hunters still managed to travel and import more than 5,700 trophies of species listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Trophy hunting, a colonial pastime celebrating the killing of wild animals for bragging rights, is incompatible with the biodiversity ambitions of the European Commission as well as the views of EU citizens. According to the results of a survey conducted in five EU Member States by Savanta ComRes—which was commissioned by HSI/Europe in 2021—over 80% of respondents opposed trophy hunting.

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ENDS

Press contact: Adeline Fischer, communications manager Europe: afischer@hsi.org; +49 17631063219

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