OPINION ARTICLE-NEWS: This is the story of a wonderfully successful evacuation of 286 cats and dogs on a Russian transport plane from Kabul, Afghanistan to Vancouver, Canada in which the organisers, Kabul Small Animal Rescue and other organisations, surmounted numerous hurdles with great commitment. It is relatively poorly publicised mission compared to the animal rescue mission which evacuated a slightly smaller number of cats and dogs from Kabul as organised by Mr Pen Farthing, the founder of the animal charity Nowzad.
It takes a massive amount of effort and commitment to achieve this sort of animal rescue. Some trolls have criticised the charities for wasting money. Bullocks to that. In terms of numbers, as a percentage of sentient beings evacuated from Kabul, cats and dogs and other animals represent a tiny number. In fact, 0.36% of all sentient being evacuated were cats and dogs. So please no one should complain about saving the lives of cats and dogs. You have no right to.
As expected, the organisers encountered some great hurdles. These dogs and cats were left behind in shelters or they were abandoned by their owners when they were forced to flee the country after the Taliban takeover. The evacuation process was threatened by serious safety issues. They were all over the news media such as the explosions outside Hamid Karzai International Airport. And then there’s the flight costs, restrictions on international travel from Kabul, permit requirements and I guess restrictions over the importation of animals from Afghanistan to Vancouver.
Apparently, CDC in the USA doesn’t allow dogs from Afghanistan to be imported. I do not know how they overcame that but they must have because the animals made it to Vancouver.
Here are a couple of Facebook posts from Kabul Small Animal Rescue:
Kabul Small Animal Rescue have a Facebook page which provides us with useful updates. Nine hours ago, on February 2, 2022, they announced that the aircraft had arrived at Vancouver:
“And they’re here! The first glimpse of our 286 brave little souls as they complete their epic journey round the globe and start their new lives!”
Before the aircraft landed in Vancouver, one the rescue workers provided us with a running commentary on a Facebook video which you can see below:
Posted by Kabul Small Animal Rescue on Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Note: These are videos from another website (FB) which are embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.
At one stage the dogs weren’t allowed on military aircraft and a private charter plane could not be organised. It transpired that a Russian military plane carried the almost 300 animals from Afghanistan to Vancouver. The plane flew over Glasgow in Scotland where the residents complained about the noise. The aircraft employed was a Ilyushin Il-76. This is a very large Russian transport aircraft.
The flight made more than one stop when they stopped off at Reykjavík in Iceland. I understand that the operation took about five months in the preparation. There were 158 dogs and 146 cats. There was another stop off in Turkey before travelling on to Iceland. The animals were checked out by veterinarians at the Turkish airport.
SPCA International were also involved. Perhaps they were the prime organisers. They announced: “After doing everything in our power to make this evacuation a reality, we are thrilled to report that the animals will soon arrive in Vancouver, Canada, where we’re excited to finally welcome them to the shelter we’ve eagerly prepared for their arrival.”