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Against the odds
BETA struggles to rescue animals in war zone

VOLUNTEERS FOR an animal charity working in war-torn Beirut continue to risk their lives to rescue hundreds of dogs, cats and other animals left behind as people flee the war zone in the Middle East conflict.

As reported in an earlier issue, Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA) is a registered charity actively working on animal welfare issues in Lebanon and had built the country’s first dog and cat shelters, whilst carrying out much-needed neutering and spaying programmes for almost half of the animals it has rescued.

With Lebanon now effectively at war, it is nearly impossible to enter or leave the country and trade has come to a halt, with the inevitable result that the necessary goods to care for the animals are becoming more difficult to find, and what little is available is now becoming more expensive.

Other animal welfare charities are struggling to help BETA to care for the animals in the war-torn country. The Humane Society of the United States has roundly condemned the authorities for not allowing civilian evacuees to take their pets with them – a situation akin to that in New Orleans last summer after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

‘Refusing to allow pets and service animals onboard aircraft and boats leaving Lebanon will likely hamper the effort to safely evacuate American citizens,’ said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. Pacelle pointed to a Zogby International poll that found 49 percent of adults said they would not evacuate a dangerous situation if they couldn't take their pets with them.

The HSUS is contacting officials at The White House, State Department and Department of Defense to urge a reversal of the no-pets policy.

Meanwhile, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has released funds to help repair one of BETA’s animal shelters that was partially destroyed by a missile, leaving 200 dogs and cats vulnerable and in need of food and veterinary care. The shelter is located on the border of Dahye, a suburb where many of the attacks are taking place.

Many of the animals are visibly suffering due to ongoing noise and destruction, and the necessary goods to care for them are becoming expensive and harder to find.

WSPA's support will enable BETA to provide food and veterinary care to the animals, as well as temporarily re-home dogs that were left without shelter due to the missile strike.

By supporting our group on the ground in Beirut we can help to ensure that animals are not suffering or forgotten during this conflict,’ said WSPA Disaster Management Director Mark Yates.

‘Fortunately WSPA had a team in the area that was able to assess the situation and advise how best we could help.’

BETA and WSPA will continue to assist the animal victims of this ongoing conflict.

‘Despite being unable to fundraise and the dangers of working in this area, BETA continues to demonstrate a real determination to care for these animals,’ Yates said. ‘WSPA will do all it can to support both them and its other Member Societies working tirelessly in both Lebanon and Israel.’

BETA has also received funds from WSPA Member Society the Humane Society International (HSI) and Fondation Brigitte Bardot.

Donations can be made online at or by bank transfer. For bank details and more information on how to help, please contact BETA at,,