NEWS AND COMMENT: I stress that this is my opinion on the news. But I’m driven to have these views which are as objective as I can make them. You may remember the highly publicised evacuation of cats and dogs from the Nowzad animal charity in Kabul. Mr Pen Farthing ran the charity. He succeeded through great effort in pulling all the strings that he could to get his 94 dogs and 68 cats out of the country on a privately chartered aircraft. At the end of this article there are reports on the evacuation.
He felt that the UK government was unhelpful to put it mildly. They were unhelpful judging by the reports. And their helpfulness emanated from the fact that some British politicians including the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, and some civil servants were clearly displaying anti-animal attitudes. And the civil servants involved lied about what happened. I can say that with confidence I feel. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he was not going to “prioritise pets over people”. Yet, this was not a case of prioritising animals over humans. A tiny fraction of the sentient beings evacuated were animals (0.02%). Fair? Of course.
One civil servant who was left running the evacuation because of the absence of the Foreign Secretary and the ambassador to Afghanistan. He was named a whistleblower. He said that the evacuation of the cats and dogs stopped the evacuation of some people. This is a lie. It is completely incorrect and the truth needs to be stated. It has been stated over and over again by Mr Farthing who is trying to get his message across.
Dominic Dyer, a volunteer at Mr Farthing’s charity Nowzad, also states that this whistleblower and perhaps other civil servants are stating untruths.
The truth is exactly the opposite. Mr Farthing was on that plane that flew out of Kabul with 94 dogs and 68 cats in the hold. He was in the seats above. And he was the only person on that flight in the passenger compartment. He found this very distressing because he had offered the seats to the government “so many times yet they refused”. Why on earth did the UK government refuse those seats? There was space on the flight for 230 people.
Therefore, the UK government in their ineptitude, bias and bad management, left behind, at that moment, 229 people who could have boarded that flight to the UK.
Mr Farthing states: “It just doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t understand how I get that truth out. What do we have to do to get people to understand what went on?”
He is very frustrated as you can see. Well, I am also trying to get the news out and the truth out about this story. The UK government is trying to paint an incorrect picture. Perhaps they want to cover up their ineptitude. Or perhaps they simply are inept. They are almost invariably Oxbridge educated. They are clever but they sometimes behave badly (devious) and some of them don’t like animals. Perhaps some are part of the Countryside Alliance, the organisation that promotes sport hunting – the killing of animals for fun – and regard foxes as pests to be killed in snares.
If they had been fair towards animals, as they should’ve been, they would have facilitated the evacuation of Nowzad’s animals from Kabul without argument and without the necessity for Mr Farthing to push and scream and shout over those many fretful and frightening days in Kabul.
Mr Farthing insists to this day that the UK government had no involvement in getting his staff and animals out of Afghanistan. He left his staff behind as he had to but they eventually made their way to Pakistan and thence to the UK. It is said that some of them will train to be veterinarians in the UK. Some are already vet qualified. They’ll have to be certified in the UK.
Mr Farthing is excited that his staff made to the UK. In all, the BBC tells me that there are 67 Nowzad staff who made it out of Kabul.
The evacuation cost the charity £500,000. There must have been some very generous donors behind this. We don’t know their names. Perhaps we should because somebody stepped in and funded that aircraft. That couldn’t have been cheap.
Surprisingly, the Charity Commission asked Mr Farthing about the funding. Even today, they are continuing to engage with the trustees of Nowzad over its governance. Mr Farthing says the whole thing is blown out of proportion. They are querying the funding behind Operation Ark which was the evacuation operation. Mr Farthing is cooperating fully.
The cats and dogs are safely back in the UK and are being rehomed. The staff are safe and enjoying the freedoms of the UK. We wish them well. We have to commend Mr Farthing for his amazing efforts. We have to criticise the UK government for their lies, deceptions and nastiness.
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Live updates on Mr Farthing (Nowzad) getting out of Kabul with his approx. 200 animals as at 26 Aug. 8 PM GMT