Love in the Time of War: Indians Returning From Ukraine With Animal Companions

Posted on by Fajar Zakri

Following an appeal from PETA India, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying issued a memorandum relaxing import requirements for animal companions traveling to India with their guardians from Ukraine.

India is now allowing animal companions to enter the country with stranded Indians being rescued from Ukraine. If the usual entry requirement—such as a rabies vaccination and veterinary health certificate—cannot be met, animals will be quarantined.

Many Indians have shared their stories of a safe return to India with their animals, some newly rescued.

Here are some of the stories:

We strongly urge people to not to leave their animals behind. Just like humans fleeing war, other animals will be scared and stressed, and they are dependent on their human guardians for comfort and security. We have been deeply moved by accounts of people walking enormous distances with their animal companions in their arms. We have detailed below what Ukrainians need to know when arriving at the border crossings of neighboring countries in order to get their whole families, including their animal companions, to safety.

Animals Left Behind at Borders

If only all stories had a similarly happy outcome.

Millions of people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and many more are still trying to leave. When the war first broke out, already traumatized people were being faced with the impossible decision of whether to leave their beloved animals behind due to the protocol for non-commercial movement of companion animals into the EU.

The regulations for importing companion animals into the EU and the U.K. are impossible for refugees to follow in a state of war. They require that animals such as dogs and cats be vaccinated and microchipped and have a negative blood test for rabies – and many animals don’t meet the criteria.

PETA entities worldwide appealed to the EU to temporarily suspend the legal entry requirements for animals at EU borders. And mercifully, the EU countries bordering Ukraine – Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia – and many others have agreed to make entry for animals less bureaucratic.

Learn About Entry Requirements For Animals From Ukraine

PETA Entities at the Frontline

PETA entities are at the border between Poland and Ukraine giving out food and water to families arriving with animal companions and offering essential information and humanitarian aid. Rescue teams have also crossed the border into Ukraine to deliver tonnes of dog and cat food and blankets to shelters, and they have picked up hundreds of animals and brought them to safety in Poland. It’s a complex undertaking with lots of obstacles to overcome, but staff and volunteers are determined to shepherd the animals and their families out of Ukraine and keep them safe every step of the way.

While implementation remains complicated on the ground, PETA entities are doing everything they can—even befriending guards who display a soft spot for animals—to make the movement of animal companions into the EU as feasible and as safe as possible.

As of March 10, 2022, PETA entities have helped rescue more than 400 companion animals from Ukraine who will be reunited with their guardians or adopted into new homes.

Meanwhile, PETA U.K. is urging the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to ease entry restrictions so that Ukrainian refugees may enter the U.K. with their animal companions, too.

For the most up-to-date news from PETA entities on the front line, make sure to constantly check the link below!

Get Latest Updates On The Situation For Animals In Ukraine