A Caithness animal rights activist said she is delighted that the UK government has relaxed the rules for Ukrainian refugees bringing their pets into the country.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) Highland rep Natalie Oag from Lyth had urged her friends and followers to sign a petition on Change.org to speed up the process of allowing refugees to enter the UK with their animals – and this week it was announced the rules have been relaxed.
She said: “No one should have to experience a heartbreaking situation like this, but even in the toughest of times, the victims refuse to leave any loved ones behind. That includes their beloved pets.”
Natalie talked about the many photos appearing over the last couple of weeks on social media showing Ukrainians holding their pets close to them as they evacuate. “This includes dogs, cats, and even fish. Luckily, many people are supporting the Ukrainians’ dedication to their furry friends.”
On March 15, the British Government put in place new emergency support for those fleeing Ukraine with their pets. Using an emergency licence, people fleeing Ukraine can bring their pets to the UK with any quarantine costs met by the Government.
Peta vice president Mimi Bekhechi said: “Britain has finally put the kettle on for Ukrainians with animal companions seeking refuge in the UK – and we are grateful that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has realized that keeping families together is the only compassionate choice in these dark times.
“Peta is helping with the rescue efforts for dogs and cats in Ukraine and has seen the dangerous lengths that people are going to in order to bring their animals with them when fleeing.”
Natalie says that pets are great therapy for the people fleeing conflict and that “it’s been proven they can help with anxiety and stress”.
“Imagine what it must be like being forced out of your family home by bombs and explosives. Leaving because you fear for your life, for your family, your parents, your siblings, your children and not forgetting your pet. For some people all they have is a pet and that’s all the companionship and comfort they have after saying goodbye to the life they once loved.”
For more information on Peta’s work to help refugees with their pets visit: www.peta.org.uk/blog/peta-germany-ukraine-help/
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