Former Marine Saves Almost 200 Rescue Animals from Kabul
Move divided the UK and raised questions about the relative value placed on humans a
A former British Royal Marine has flown almost 200 rescued dogs and cats to safety but without his charity’s Afghan staff, who were left behind in Kabul.
A private chartered plane took off from Kabul carrying “Pen” Farthing and his animals.
The move divided the UK and raised questions about the relative value placed on humans and animal lives.
Dominic Dyer, Farthing's spokesperson, said the plane was due to land at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday.
Farthing was eligible for evacuation in Britain’s military airlift but refused to leave without the animals.
Farthing used social media to chronicle his attempts to depart with his animals amid the chaos.
Farthing gained support from including comedian Ricky Gervais and many offers to adopt the rescued animals.
I know.. right? The cargo hold is empty - we put the dogs and cats in there!! And 250 people above in the cabin! https://t.co/zAKqazlDZG— Pen Farthing (@PenFarthing) August 24, 2021
But he also drew criticism from those who accused him of using up time and energy from the task of rescuing Afghans.
The UK evacuated more than 15,000 of its citizens and vulnerable Afghans.
But officials say as many as 1,100 Afghans have left behind even though they are entitled to come to the UK.
“What would you say if I sent an ambulance to save my dog rather than to save your mother?” said Conservative lawmaker Tom Tugendhat, who served with the British Army in Afghanistan.
“We’ve just used a lot of troops to bring in 200 dogs. Meanwhile, my interpreter’s family is likely to be killed,” Tugendhat told radio station LBC.
Farthing said Operation Ark did not take airplane seats from people in the evacuation operation, but the government has expressed frustration.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said people needed to be prioritized over pets and claimed Farthing’s more militant supporters had “taken up too much time.”
Farthing left a nasty message for senior defence official, Peter Quentin, accusing him of “blocking” the evacuation and threatening to “spend the rest of my time … destroying you on social media.”
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“Pen Farthing, who was risking his life in Kabul to get his people and animals to Britain, was completely justified in holding Mr. Quentin to account for his actions,” he said.