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Animals airlifted out of Kabul by Pen Farthing were infected and could pass disease onto humans

Animals airlifted from Kabul by former Royal Marine Pen Farthing may pass diseases to humans

  • Pen Farthing helped airlift 173 cats and dogs from the Nowzad shelter in Kabul 
  • Some show traces of bacterial infection and could pass disease onto humans 
  • Animals placed into quarantine because of prevalence of rabies in Afghanistan


Several of the animals airlifted out of Kabul by a former Royal Marine were infected with diseases that could be passed to humans, Government sources said last night.

Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing was accused by critics of ‘costing lives’ as a result of his mission in August to evacuate 173 cats and dogs from the Nowzad animal shelter as Afghanistan’s capital city fell to the Taliban.

A leaked voice message obtained by The Mail on Sunday at the time revealed the behind-the-scenes bitterness over the airlift, with Mr Farthing telling a Ministry of Defence official he would ‘spend the rest of my time f****** destroying’ him if he did not secure clearance for a flight out of the country.

Several of the animals airlifted out of Kabul (pictured) by a former Royal Marine were infected with diseases that could be passed to humans, Government sources said last night

Now sources at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs say some animals on the airlift were infected with Brucella canis, a bacterial infection that can cause spontaneous abortions in affected animals – and in rare cases can be passed to humans.

All of the animals were put into quarantine because of the prevalence of rabies in Afghanistan. 

A Defra spokesman said: ‘We have some of the strongest biosecurity and safety controls in the world to help protect people and animals against diseases coming into the country. 

‘Rabies is endemic in Afghanistan and there are other diseases of dogs and cats which are not present in the UK, which can be fatal to both humans and animals.

Mr Farthing (pictured) said: ‘The Nowzad charity has always been fully compliant with the regulations as laid out by Defra for the import of dogs from Afghanistan'

Mr Farthing (pictured) said: ‘The Nowzad charity has always been fully compliant with the regulations as laid out by Defra for the import of dogs from Afghanistan’

‘We can confirm 12 dogs and two cats have been released to Nowzad having completed the necessary treatment process.

‘The remaining animals are being cared for in secure facilities and will be released when their quarantine ends or when they are compliant.’ 

Mr Farthing said: ‘The Nowzad charity has always been fully compliant with the regulations as laid out by Defra for the import of dogs from Afghanistan. 

‘If further testing is needed currently beyond what is normally required for entry to the UK, then our charity will be more than happy for those tests to be carried out by Defra.

‘We are happy to report the first batch of 12 dogs and two cats were given the all-clear last week. The remainder will continue with their predetermined quarantine as per Defra regulations for entry to the UK.’ 

Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing (pictured in 2013) was accused by critics of ‘costing lives’ as a result of his mission in August to evacuate 173 cats and dogs from the Nowzad animal shelter, Kabul

Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing (pictured in 2013) was accused by critics of ‘costing lives’ as a result of his mission in August to evacuate 173 cats and dogs from the Nowzad animal shelter, Kabul

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