The aggressive invasion of Ukraine has already caused 1 million people to flee the country since 24 February, mainly to the EU. In addition to the horrific consequences for Ukraine and its people, there are also increasingly serious consequences for animals.
1. Can the Commission confirm that all Member States will ensure that refugees from Ukraine with pets are admitted, that after arrival pets will receive free of charge the compulsory health tests and vaccinations required in the EU, and that shelter will be provided even for refugees travelling with pets?
2. Is the Commission ensuring that the EUR 500 million set aside from the EU budget for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, intended mainly to alleviate the suffering of civilians and to provide care to refugees, also includes emergency aid for animals, such as food, veterinary services and transport for any necessary evacuation, or does it intend to set aside a supplementary budget for this purpose?
3. Is the Commission prepared to initiate an accelerated procedure, like that under CITES, to allow the evacuation of animals from Ukraine to the EU, such as wild animals kept in shelters or zoos?
The Commission confirms that the Member States have taken facilitation arrangements to authorise, in this exceptional situation, the non-commercial movement into their territory of pet animals, which do not comply with legal EU entry conditions.
Veterinary competent authorities in all Member States, and most particularly those in frontline, are implementing such arrangements, including free vaccination and marking of pet animals.
A coordination mechanism between Member States is in place to ensure appropriate information of relevant authorities when the entry Member State is not the final destination of the refugees.
The Commission confirms that similar exceptional arrangements are implemented by Member States to facilitate the entry of zoo and circus animals into the EU.
The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) has issued a statement on the situation in Ukrainian zoos and has raised funds that will inter alia support possible relocation of animals to temporary accommodation in Ukraine or abroad.
The Commission is aware that several large carnivores have been rescued(2) and the Member States are using all the available flexibility to speed up the movement of the rescued animals across the different borders with Ukraine.
As regards emergency aid, the EUR 500 million package includes EUR 85 million of humanitarian funding for Ukraine and EUR 8 million for Moldova delivered by humanitarian partner organisations.
The funding will help people inside Ukraine and those who have fled to neighbouring countries to cover their basic needs (food, water, healthcare, shelter, protection).