Kosovo Atrocities Affect Horses

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is preparing for action to aid livestock and pets in war-torn Kosovo when the bombs stop falling. WSPA's Trevor Wheeler, along with colleagues, recently was sent to Albania's capital, Tirana, to meet with the Veterinary Institute, part of the Albanian Ministry of Agriculture, to assess in the region the animal situation that has resulted from the conflict in Kosovo.

According to Wheeler, there are not many pets or livestock in the Albanian refugee camps due to the fact that most animals were not permitted to leave Kosovo. Wheeler said, “ A number of horses have been used (by refugees) to escape Kosovo, but the animals didn't make it across the border. Horses may still be on the Serbian side of the border running loose and fending for themselves. Many may be injured from (land) mines and bullets.” He said there are a few horses and donkeys that are being taken care of by Albanian veterinarians in the refugee camps, but that the scope of the problem will not be able to be determined until after the war is over.

Albanian refugees in the camps reported that Serbian Armed forces in Kosovo have shot farm animals and pets on sight. According to a statement released by WSPA, “farm animals were burnt alive as Serbian forces set fire to barns.” Some refugees have described such horrible incidents as cattle being machine gunned.

Currently, WSPA is finalizing plans to mobilize a team of veterinarians, which will include surgeons, to take action as soon as the shooting stops and a cease fire is agreed upon. Wheeler said, “farm and livestock animals will be WAPA's first priority.” Another priority, according to Wheeler, will be disposing of animal carcasses...the casualties of war...which could pose a threat to human health.

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