The animal rights organisation PETA has published a website explaining how companion animals of Ukraine’s refugees that are fleeing the country since the Russian invasion began can be allowed entrance into EU countries. The normal procedures and red tape that would prevent this have been temporarily relaxed in several nations to facilitate the exodus. 

The United Nations has said that more than 1.2 million refugees have left Ukraine through its western border with Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungry. Many of them have been travelling with their companion animals, but the current regulations for bringing them into the EU and the UK are impossible for refugees to follow in the present circumstances. They require dogs and cats to be vaccinated and microchipped and have a rabies test.

However, many countries have been relaxing these rules and are allowing companion animals to enter their territory even if they don’t have the necessary paperwork or vaccination. For instance, animals can reportedly enter Hungary without a microchip, tattoo, proof of rabies vaccination, or titre test as long as transition papers from the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) have been completed. 

The Polish government has now made it possible for cats and dogs to enter the country without vaccinations, a microchip or tattoo, or a blood test. Guardians who enter via the Polish border must fill out transition papers for the animals. If transiting through Poland to another EU country, guardians must leave the animals behind in government-paid quarantine at a shelter near the border for three weeks. 

Although there has been conflicting information about this, it seems that animals coming from Ukraine can enter Romania with their human guardians, even if they are not vaccinated, microchipped, or tattooed and have no papers, as long as a form is completed. People entering Romania with animals must visit the “Sanitary Veterinary Point” at the borders. 

In Slovakia, guardians must fill out a form, which they can request from the staff of the Financial Administration of the Slovak Republic at the border, and then, upon arrival at the EU member state of their destination, they must report the animals to the local veterinary office.

As for the non-border countries, the following have suspended the requirement for a permit under Regulation (EU) 576/2013 until further notice: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, and Slovenia.  Instead, those entering these countries with companion animals must contact the local veterinary authority to establish the health status of their companions. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.