Afghan rescue animals ‘remarkable’, says mercy flight vet

Afghan rescue animals ‘remarkable’, says mercy flight vet

A UK vet who flew on a specially chartered plane taking around 150 rescued animals out Afghanistan, has said it is “remarkable” how they have fared.

Dr Iain McGill, director of the Prion Group, shared a flight with Paul “Pen” Farthing  and around 150 animals, which touched  down at Heathrow on Sunday.

He said it was “remarkable” they were so healthy given that they had been trapped in crates on trucks in Kabul since Wednesday evening where Mr Farthing and his team were shot at.

He told the i newspaper: “There are over 150 healthy animals that, considering what they’ve been through, are in amazing shape.

“There are a couple that have gone to an animal hospital because they’re a bit dehydrated. And there were some very, very minor wounds, largely from being in the crates for so long.

“They have gone through a lot. There was the heat there, it was challenging getting water to them. They got attacked with tear gas at one point. There’s the noise and the stress and then the multiple loadings on and off planes and trucks. It is remarkable how well they are.”
All the animals have now gone through checks at Heathrow and are in quarantine at various kennels.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Farthing, who set up the Nowzad animal shelter after serving as a marine in the war-torn country, said he had “true deep feeling of sadness for Afghan today”.

Since the country fell the Taliban following the withdrawal of US troops, Mr Farthing and his supporters campaigned to have his staff, their families and 140 dogs and 60 cats evacuated from the country in a plan he named Operation Ark.

However, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace complained some of Mr Farthing’s supporters had “taken up too much time of my senior commanders dealing with this issue when they should be focused on dealing with the humanitarian crisis”.

In a post on Sunday afternoon, Mr Farthing said he arrived at Heathrow with a “partial success” of Operation Ark.

“Mixed emotions and true deep feeling of sadness for Afghan today,” he said.

After the last of the Allied troops left Kabul aitrport, he wrote: “Right now celebratory gunfire across Kabul from the Taliban. The last US soldiers have left the airfield. My heart is broken for the people of Afghanistan.”

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