Germany: setting an example by providing low-cost veterinary care

As the consequences of the global economic crisis continue to affect Germany, animal shelters have been faced with overcrowding. Pets have been abandoned when owners who could no longer afford the costs of adequate care, and impoverished people and their companion animals are still refused at veterinary clinics if they’re unable to pay in advance.

IFAW originally helps Tiertafel operate ‘soup kitchens for pets’

IFAW Germany originally worked to bring critical assistance to those who could not properly care for their companion animals by supporting Tiertafel, the "soup kitchen for animals.” By supplying pet food to individuals who can show documentation of low income or extreme financial distress, Tiertafel helps ensure that beloved pets won’t be abandoned or go hungry.

In 2008, IFAW sponsored the purchase of a van allowing Tiertafel to assist with the distribution of food to needy dogs and cats at 25 distribution points around the country. In 2012, a second van was provided.  

IFAW’s principal work in Germany: establishing low-cost veterinary clinics

In 2009, IFAW began focusing on a groundbreaking partnership with Tiertafel to provide low-cost veterinary care to the pets of individuals receiving public assistance in Berlin, Germany. This initiative was intended to set an example for local and international stakeholders and politicians, demonstrating the necessity of long-term solutions for those whose personal and financial struggles have left them with few options to properly care for their beloved pets.

IFAW’s landmark low-cost veterinary clinic in Berlin has helped more than 1,400 pets since it began, and has inspired us to expand these services. In 2012, IFAW expanded its low-cost veterinary services to include a second veterinary practice in Hamburg, allowing us to reach even more animals in need.

In Berlin, IFAW vets see clients every two weeks during normal food distribution hours; in Hamburg IFAW’s clinic operates once a month.  They offer vaccinations, micro-chipping and basic care on site. Emergency cases are seen, and less routine care—like surgical procedures–are scheduled.

Without the IFAW-supported clinics, veterinary support and treatment would be out of reach for the pets of many of those suffering from poverty in Germany. We recognize that sometimes you need not go far to find animals in crisis, and our work in Germany is an important part of IFAW's efforts to aid and support communities and their animals all over the world.