For many, pets are as much a member of the family as humans, providing a high level of comfort at times of trauma.
Over 600 pets have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine since the onset of the Russian invasion of the country.
Ireland is one of a number of EU countries that have waived the usual biosecurity measures and pet travel requirements in reaction to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Various EU countries recognise the important role family pets play in times of crisis. Thus, they have enabled those fleeing the war-torn country to bring their companions along hassle-free.
Easing normal entry requirements – providing help for those in need
Normally, those travelling with pets would have to undergo a rigorous chain of procedures before entering a new country.
However, on 25 February 2022, following the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the veterinarians federation of the EU called on European governments to relax these restrictions to allow refugees to travel with their family pets.
Faced with such dire circumstances, the Commission advised EU member states to ease these restrictions for Ukrainian citizens to give them “one less thing to worry about”.
In response, many EU countries, including Ireland, eased these restrictions. Since then, over 600 pets have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine.
Unprecedented times – providing a welcoming home for refugees
Due to the easing of restrictions, Ukrainian owners can now bring their pets to Ireland and other EU countries. This is even if the pet is noncompliant for entry into the EU or is missing the previously required documentation.
Since the onset of the Russian invasion in February, over 600 pets have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine. According to official figures, 618 cats and dogs have arrived in the country, alongside various other smaller household pets.
Bringing the pets in line with EU requirements – working hard to ensure safe travel
Previously, pet owners would have to ensure their pets met EU regulations before travelling to a new country.
However, due to the urgency with which Ukrainian refugees have been forced to flee their home country, officials in Ireland have been completing checks upon arrival.
The Department of Agriculture has taken responsibility for bringing animals into line with the required health and biosecurity standards upon their arrival at Irish ports.
Once the animals reach Ireland, they are micro-chipped, given appropriate vaccinations, and treated for tapeworm. Following these procedures, pets must then enter home quarantine.
Over 600 pets have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine – an open-door policy
It is hoped the open-door policy toward Ukrainian refugees and their pets will make the transition as easy as possible.
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told RTÉ that Ireland would continue this open-door policy.
He said, “Pets play a huge role in the lives of so many people. They are friends and companions, and I was keen to ensure pets could travel with their owners.
“That is why we have taken a leadership role in allowing those arriving here to bring their pets once they follow a few simple steps to reduce the risk of any disease coming into Ireland.”