Updated: Oct 21, 2022
The #pets of the people fleeing conflict often remain overlooked as victims of war. Among the two million people who have fled #Ukraine thousands of pets and #animals have either been taken on perilous journeys or left behind in a worn torn country.
Pictures and videos have been flooding the internet of Ukranians fleeing for neighboring countries with cats zipped up in coats, dogs being strapped to peoples’ backs, and of owners shielding their pets as they hide in bunkers. In the beginning of the conflict, many were faced with the impossible decision of leaving their pets behind due to the protocol for non-commercial movement of companion animals into the #EU. However, despite these restrictions, Ukrainians continued to show up at the borders with their pets, refusing to leave them behind as they are considered part of the family for many.
Animal right activists were demanding EU countries relax their entry requirements for animal companions. Stating that it is inhumane to force people to abandon their pets in a country facing war, as animals will also experience stress and fear. The #EuropeanCommision also strongly advised member states to remove these requirements, stating it is “one less thing for these people to worry about.” February 25 saw the eradication of entry requirements for most EU states for incoming Ukranians.
Additionally, the Mykolaiv Zoo demands there be a humanitarian corridor for the #zoo. They have run out of food and diesel for heat for the animals. The zoo has reported animals dying of hunger and cold. Many zoo staffers stayed behind to care for the animals, despite the constant shelling and fighting. But now there is no heat, electricity, food, and the owner said they “don’t even have medicine to put them to sleep.”
Want to help? Buy a ticket! The Mykolaiv Zoo has continued ticket sales so people can “go” to the zoo. All money from current ticket sales will go towards food for the animals.
Amidst the Russian Re-invasion of Ukraine, we cannot forget the animals who will suffer because of this conflict, and the people who are putting their life on the line to protect them.