How IFAW’s German veterinary project helps animals and people

One sometimes forgets that poverty is a global problem. Even in developed countries, there are millions of people who suffer and barely have enough money to take care of themselves, let alone care for a pet. But often, for people who are facing poverty and social isolation, a pet is their only companion.

In Germany, poverty has reached its highest level in 25 years. Many of those people own pets. Across the world, we are seeing more and more that impoverished people need their pets. They are family, friend, and unconditional support. For many, they are the most important thing in the life of a person who has little else.

Five years ago, IFAW started a veterinary project in cooperation with our partner, Berliner Tiertafel, in order to help people facing poverty, and the animals that rely on them. Tiertafel is like a soup kitchen for animals, where impoverished pet owners can get food for their cats and dogs, to ensure they can feed their four-legged friends.

But what if your pet is ill or injured, and you don’t have money for the vet? That’s where IFAW comes in.

We hired a veterinarian to treat the pets of Tiertafel clients for very little money. Owners are asked to pay what they can afford. The veterinarian does everything from vaccinations and deworming, to life-saving tumor operations. We even subsidize critical medications that owners would otherwise not be able to afford.

During these past five years, our veterinarian has been able to help thousands of animals who otherwise would not have received treatment. Some of them would not be alive today were it not for the food, care and treatment they received. We’ve helped so many people keep their best friend happy and healthy.

Take a look at our video and see what a normal day at Berliner Tiertafel looks like!


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
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