Veterinary community stands with Ukraine

Veterinarians around the world are aiding their Ukrainian colleagues and the animals they care for with an outpouring of humanitarian support.

On March 10, the AVMA announced its charitable arm, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, will direct a $100,000 donation from Merck Animal Health to support veterinary and animal-welfare groups in Ukraine and surrounding areas.

Additionally, the AVMF is matching the Merck grant with its own $100,000 donation.

“Many organizations, including veterinary medical facilities, animal shelters, and animal rescue groups in Ukraine and neighboring countries, are courageously providing care to people and animals affected by the crisis,” said AVMA President José Arce in a statement. “But they can’t do it alone, so we encourage AVMA members and the public to contribute to our relief efforts.”

Ukrainian flag flying over Kharkiv
The AVMA and other veterinary organizations are helping Ukrainian veterinarians with financial and material support. For example, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria is coordinating the collection of relief funds to assist Ukrainian zoos, including the one in Kharkiv (pictured), a city in northeast Ukraine.

For those wanting to help veterinarians help animals, visit the AVMF website.

Russian military forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, dramatically escalating a conflict simmering between the two nations since 2014. The invasion was widely condemned by the international community and has resulted in severe financial and trade sanctions against Russia.

More than 2.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of war, roughly half of them to neighboring Poland, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. Thanks to work by the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the European Commission is allowing Poland and other member nations to authorize entry for pets accompanying Ukrainian refugees without them needing to make a prior application for an individual permit.

A number of other international veterinary and animal organizations are helping in the following ways:

  • The World Small Animal Veterinary Association is working to secure pet food and other essential supplies through WSAVA member associations, other veterinary stakeholders, and industry partners. The organization is also creating a network of contacts on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries who can deliver the supplies.
  • The FVE, World Veterinary Association, and the European Federation of Companion Animal Veterinary Associations have launched the website Vets for Ukraine to serve as a hub to coordinate aid to help Ukrainian veterinarians, their families, and animals.
  • The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges sent a letter of support March 4 to the faculty at Bila Tserkva National Agrarian University in Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, affirming that the AAVMC stands in solidarity with Ukrainian colleagues.
  • The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Croatian University of Zagreb announced that it is offering Ukrainian veterinary students the chance to continue their studies for free or complete parts of their studies as part of a student exchange program. The veterinary college will also allow students to complete clinical work at its clinics.
  • The British Veterinary Association issued a statement March 2 saying it will offer free membership to any Ukrainian veterinary professionals looking to settle in the U.K.
  • The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons said veterinarians fleeing the situation in Ukraine and seeking refuge in the U.K. would be able to take their licensing examination for free and receive financial support for travel and accommodation to help them attend examinations.
  • The International Fund for Animal Welfare has compiled a list of information and resources for people who are fleeing the country with their pets.
  • Veterinarians without Borders Canada is raising funds to support shelter animals in Ukraine by working with organizations on the ground that can transport food and animals at shelters as well as provide support to other locations where people and their animals are fleeing.
  • The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria is coordinating the collection of relief funds to assist Ukrainian zoos—including those in Myikolayiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv—to continue to provide food and care to animals in conditions of relative welfare and safety, as well as providing support for care staff and management at the zoos.