Nearly 700,000 people have fled the country since the start of the Russian offensive on Ukraine, according to the latest figures released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR) on Tuesday, March 1. An astonishing exodus. In the procession, women, men, children, but also many pets. Resigned not to abandon their companions, Ukrainian men and women flock to the border with their dogs or cats. Faced with this huge wave, neighboring countries have decided to relax their animal shelters.
Conditions that cannot be met
Normally, animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) from countries outside the European Union, such as Ukraine, are subject to numerous conditions to enter the territory. They must indeed be vaccinated, have an electronic chip and present a negative blood test for rabies. † If you are traveling from a country or territory outside the EU, your pet must be in possession of a health certificate issued by an official veterinarian in the country of departure at least 10 days before arrival in the EUspecifies the European Union site.
Condition “Impossible to respect refugees in a state of war”underlines PETA France, the association for the defense of animal rights, in a press release.
“We were deeply moved by the stories of people who walked very long distances with their animals in their arms”PETA says. Also, the association encourages pet owners not to leave them behind. She remembers that “Pets will be scared, stressed and dependent on their owners for their comfort and safety. †
Faced with the serious crisis affecting Ukraine, neighboring countries such as Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia have decided to ease import formalities for animals. A solidarity movement spread to many other countries, such as the Czech Republic or Lithuania.
A European solidarity movement
Thus, according to information updated on February 28, 2022, Romania has introduced new, more flexible rules that allow animals (up to five per person) to enter the country with their families. Henceforth, a form would replace the initial conditions. † However, the situation remains opaque, as we are also receiving information that – contrary to official information from the authorities – people are not allowed to cross the border with their companion animals.PETA emphasizes.
On site, the Eduxanima association also offers to vaccinate dogs and cats free of charge, to provide them with veterinary care and the necessary food, as well as to carry out blood tests to facilitate their movement within the EU.
In Poland, the government also allows animals without even vaccinations, microchips or tattoos, or blood tests. However, their owners are required to complete animal transition documents. “Those who can provide an address in Poland can take their pets directly to their destination, specifies PETA on its site. If they travel through Poland on their way to another EU country, owners must quarantine the animals for three weeks in a rescue center near the border. The Polish government would fund the housing and care of the animals and vaccinate them against rabies. †
Ukrainians can also cross the border in Slovakia with a simple form. “On arrival in the EU Member State of their destination, they must report the animals to the local veterinary service”can be read on the association’s website.
PETA France finally calls on Emmanuel Macron to reach out to refugees in transit with their pets. “Many already traumatized people face the impossible decision to leave their beloved animals behind due to border restrictions. Please, Mr President, follow the example of the European leaders and let Ukrainians and their animal friends take refuge in France! †
Let’s hope the message is heard…