MEDIA RELEASE: Gaza’s Open Checkpoint + Animals Starving: Final Week of Food!
GAZA, Palestine (Dec. 19, 2023) — In Defense of Animals is championing Sulala Society for Animal Care’s urgent call for Israel to allow animal supplies into Gaza for their 520 rescued animals and hundreds of thousands more who have already started starving to death. Animal supplies have not entered Gaza since the start of the conflict more than two months ago. The opening of the Kerem Shalom checkpoint on Dec. 17 offers a glimmer of hope that more aid will be able to come into Gaza, but animal food must be included on aid trucks. Time is of the essence, and immediate action is required. Over 13,000 In Defense of Animals supporters have written to humanitarian leaders and aid agencies calling for them to do everything possible to get animal aid into Gaza urgently.
Sulala Society for Animal Care is the only official animal rescue organization in the Gaza Strip. It shelters 120 cats and 400 dogs, including 20 who are disabled. Their well-established work in the Gaza community spans many years. Now, they are being called upon by animal lovers in the community, asking them to pick up injured animals and treat them, as well as desperate animal guardians asking them for food for their companions since pet shops in Gaza are now completely devoid of animal food.
Sulala has seen its supplies dwindling since the start of the hostilities and was forced to stop distributing food to animal guardians since Dec. 16. The organization has enough food left to feed its own rescued animals for only one more week. Sulala Founder and Director Saeed Al Err said that he has left extra food — for approximately two days — for homeless cats living on the streets, but he will not be able to feed them again when this food is finished.
As well as aiding animals, Sulala has been documenting their on-ground realities and the critical need for this international support. In recent videos on Instagram, Al Err pleads for international supporters to apply pressure on Israel to include supplies for animals, as well as aid for humans.
In Defense of Animals' dedicated supporters have sent over $18,000 in aid to animal rescuers in Gaza and Israel. Its Israeli partner, Freedom for Animals, continues to go into active bombing zones to save animals. Aided by In Defense of Animals financial support, Freedom for Animals has been able to feed 2,600 pounds of dog and cat food to homeless animals and saved 327 birds and several cats from the frontlines, as well as distributing vegan food to refugees.
Over 13,000 compassionate individuals have signed In Defense of Animals' alert reached out to decision-makers through thousands of emails, amplifying Sulala’s call for support and action to get animal aid into Gaza urgently.
Fleur Dawes, Director of Communications and International Partnerships at In Defense of Animals, expressed, “We acknowledge the catastrophic humanitarian crisis that this war is causing for all innocent beings living in Gaza and Israel, and thank our generous supporters who have supported animal victims of the war on both sides of the border. Aiding animals is non-political. Now animal food supplies have run dry, we are asking Israel to send animal aid right now to stop the mass starvation of animals in Gaza. We appreciate Israel opening the Kerem Shalom checkpoint, however animal food is not yet on the list of items that can enter. Animals have already started starving, and time is of the essence.”
Al-Err was grateful for the show of support but reiterated the need for action. “International support from In Defense of Animals is most welcome, and we hope it precedes a lifeline to the animals in Gaza. Without food supplies, animals are starving to death in their guardians’ arms, while others are forced to survive by scavenging on dead bodies in the bombing zone. It’s a nightmare that has to end,” he said.
Financial support has been critical, with international generosity giving the team at Sulala Society for Animal Care hope and reassurance that there is a worldwide community with them in spirit. But there are no longer animal supplies available to purchase for the many animals in Gaza. It’s vital that animals be resupplied on aid trucks along with human aid.
The most pressing needs right now are:
- Cat and dog food (dry and canned)
- Veterinary medicine supplies, focusing on anti-parasite medication
- Food for donkeys, horses, and birds
In the absence of fuel, working animals like donkeys and horses have become one of the only means of transportation, often carrying heavy carts loaded with people or water barrels, with limited or no food available to feed them.
“We are immensely grateful for every gesture of support to get animal aid into Gaza, whether it’s financial aid to fund an animal food truck or writing a message of support to let it in,” added Al-Err.
Everyone can make a difference by contacting over 17 decision-makers through In Defense of Animals’ action alert.
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Images & Video: https://bit.ly/GazaPixVid free for use with credit in filename
Action Alert: Urgent: Allow Animals To Flee The Warzone & Receive Supplies signed by 13,089 In Defense of Animals supporters
Contact: Fleur Dawes +1 415-879-6879 [email protected]
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin County, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in California, India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org/companions
Sulala Society for Animal Care is the only official animal rescue organization in the Gaza Strip. It shelters 120 cats and 400 dogs, including 20 who are disabled. Their well established work in the Gaza community spans many years. https://www.instagram.com/sulalaanimalrescue
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