Lithuanian animal rights activists are not just reacting to the situation collecting financial donations, but also looking for volunteers in Lithuania who can take care of animals in case of emergency.
The idea to help animals in war-torn Ukraine was born unexpectedly. On Friday evening, March 4, I received a text message from a person I did not know at the time – Orinta, a lawyer specializing in logistics. She told me that one day she felt so moved by the war in Ukraine that she started organizing an aid transport. She said the truck would leave on Monday, but it wasn’t full – three pallets were empty. She asked me if I knew anyone who could provide food and water. Saturday we already filled the whole truck and another, new one! – tells the “Kurier Wileński” Faust Marija Leščiauskaitė, journalist and writer.
Man is responsible for the animal
As our interlocutor says, Orinta told at the time that she had contacts in Ukraine at a charitable organization, which showed that she currently needs food for animals: cats, dogs, birds, rodents. She said they currently have some food for humans, but hardly any food for animals.
– We thought about it for a few days and then we decided: let’s do it. We couldn’t refuse to help. I myself have two dogs from the shelter that someone has thrown on the street. Orinta is also very fond of animals. I understand that in times of war animals are rarely the priority – and we often hear ourselves that we have to choose people. However, we couldn’t quite understand it. After all, you can help both humans and animals – and that’s what we do. These activities are not mutually exclusive – says Fausta Marija Leščiauskaitė.
It was a man who once domesticated an animal. He selfishly demanded that the animal cease to function in natural conditions so that it would adapt to our needs. – The animal accepted human conditions, fell in love with man, adapted to him, helped him. That is why I believe that we humans are responsible for animals, because we ourselves have decided that we need them in our lives. Moreover, it is also scary for animals: when bombs go off, when the owners die, or when they run away, when people scream when there is nothing to eat. It is also an indescribably difficult time for them. That’s why we started a weekly fundraiser in Vilnius, Kaunas and on the internet so that Lithuanian citizens can contribute, explains Fausta.
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This goodness cannot be kept quiet
The volunteers are optimistic that they will manage to collect at least a truckload of food during this time. They are also preparing for the worst. Faust is theoretically on vacation. Every time he prints a magazine, he takes a week off. This time it seems like she wakes up in the morning, grabs her phone and flies through all her contacts. He asks for help in spreading information and, if possible, to bring at least a bag of food for the animals.
– I don’t expect anyone to give me anything. That’s why I don’t take kindness for granted. When I ask companies for support, I offer what I can in return, such as advertising services to dog food suppliers. I tell my friends who have spread our request to remind them that if I can, I will repay my kindness. Goodwill and assistance should be appreciated. Today Lithuanian citizens help a lot, so we can’t shut up about this goodness, we need to talk about it – he makes clear.
It was very difficult to start a business, he says. Organizing this kind of help took a lot of dedication – it was necessary to find people in Vilnius and Kaunas who could accept gifts, organize online shopping, coordinate transport, etc. Volunteers do many things by feel, act instinctively.
“I was afraid that people would be suspicious, that they would accuse me of things I didn’t do.” So I try to do everything as openly as possible. Every day I inform about what and where we have collected, I do not hide where the donations go, I do not remain silent about details. I make it clear: ask questions and I will answer patiently. I understand that this is a delicate period and I don’t want to leave people with questions, says Fausta Marija Leščiauskaitė.
Read more:Help for Ukraine and war refugees is still needed
Facilities at the border
After the collection, when the donations of all the points are collected, the donation will go to Ukraine, but only in a few days it will reach the correct point. The donations go to charity. Shevchenko in Kiev, and to the Trushna Peremoha Association, which collects donations. And now they have enough people asking for help – if only there was enough for everyone.
Lithuanian organizations are looking for different ways to help shelters, kennels and individual animal owners in Ukraine. Some of them have already received their first donation and the organizations are asking for further help for the animals, as the number of homeless animals in Ukraine is increasing and some shelters lack not only food but also water.
Lithuanian volunteers will not only collect food and water for animals in Ukraine, but will also help animals on the border with Ukraine, whose owners have sought refuge in safer countries.
In response to hostilities in Ukraine and the potential influx of war refugees, the State Food and Veterinary Service (SVVT) announced on February 25 that it had facilitated entry for people with pets such as dogs, cats and ferrets. Under the new procedure, private pets from Ukraine are vaccinated against rabies and marked. It will also facilitate their quarantine. The new admission procedure only applies to Ukrainian citizens, while the procedure for the commercial entry of pets into the European Union remains unchanged for the time being.
Ararticle published in the magazine “Kurier Wileński” No. 12 (36) 26/03 – 01/04/2022