The Indian government has relaxed import requirements for companion dogs and cats from Ukraine, following a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India’s appeal.After Rishabh Kaushik, an Indian student who was refusing to leave war-hit Ukraine without his puppy Malibu, put out an appeal for help on social media, PETA India approached the minister for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying Parshottam Rupala.
The department of animal husbandry and dairying has issued an office memorandum stating that “considering unique and extraordinary situations in war-hit Ukraine wherein pre-export requisite formalities for export of pets into India may not be fulfilled, the import of pet dogs and/or pet cats along with stranded Indians being rescued by the Government of India is being facilitated as a one-time relaxation measure as under.”
The memorandum includes relaxed pre-import and post-import conditions and directs regional officers of all animal quarantine and certification services to coordinate with the respective state veterinary authorities to share details of each import with the central government’s department of animal husbandry and dairying.
There have been several reports of people in Ukraine refusing to leave without their companion animals and travelling great distances facing the bitter cold and risks of a war carrying their animals in their arms, trying to find a safe route out. A café owner in Lviv, Ukraine, refused to leave his city because he feared that in his absence, the cats under his care would be neglected and starve and die.
“We are extremely thankful to the Modi government for this compassionate decision to include companion animals in the evacuation process. Separating animal companions from their guardians would have been another tragedy for those desperately fleeing Ukraine, and it would have only resulted in more heartbreak and unnecessarily lost lives,” says PETA India chief executive officer and veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate. “With this decision, India joins Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania, countries which have made entry for animals less bureaucratic, thereby helping families, including people like Rishabh, escape the warzone with their beloved companion animals.”
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