№ 400/2013 from Dec 20, 2013
The Small Animal Clinic of Freie Universität Berlin is to receive 100,000 euros annually to cover the costs of care for wild animals, according to the budget passed by the Berlin House of Representatives on December 12. So far, the funds have been approved for 2014 and 2015. The money will be used to cover the costs of materials and services for veterinary care as well as sheltering and feeding the 1,200 to 1,500 injured wild animals that are brought in annually by the police, the fire brigade, the nature conservation organization NABU, or private individuals. On Friday, Thomas Heilmann, the senator for justice in Berlin, who is responsible for animal welfare, along with members of the Berlin House of Representatives Cornelia Seibeld and Alexander J. Herrmann, visited the Small Animal Clinic in Berlin-Düppel and symbolically handed over a donation of animal feed.
During the visit Senator Heilmann told representatives of the media that the Small Animal Clinic has an excellent reputation extending beyond the borders of Berlin with regard to caring for wild animals. As he said, "I can only thank the members of the Berlin State House of Representatives for securing the funding for this important project. That is really a wonder Christmas present." The chair of the Legal and Consumer Committee in the House of Representatives, Cornelia Seibeld, emphasized that the Small Animal Clinic is very dedicated and does an excellent job and important work in the interest of wildlife. The animal welfare policy spokesperson for the CDU group in the Berlin House of Representatives, Alexander J. Herrmann, stressed, "Providing financial support for the work done by the Small Animal Clinic and also the wild bird station of the Berlin NABU Berlin e. V. was a major concern for me and the CDU faction in the budget discussions." Furthermore, he expressed satisfaction that the important work carried out by both institutions has funding approval for the next two years.
The Dean of Freie Universität's Department of Veterinary Science, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Zentek, spoke of the generous support by the Berlin House of Representatives, which is "an important contribution to animal protection and to the maintenance of optimal patient care." The second chair of the National NABU Association in Berlin, Rainer Altenkamp, also welcomed the decision. Annually NABU Berlin alone takes around 300 animals to the Small Animal Clinic. These animals have no owners, and NABU Berlin already pays the costs involved in rescuing them, transportation to the clinic, and the care following the medical procedure. "If NABU also had to bear the costs of medical care, it would far exceed the financial resources of the association," said Altenkamp.
"We primarily treat injured wild animals that belong to endangered species, such as songbirds, Anatidae (including ducks, geese, and swans), birds of prey, and owls," emphasized Dr. Kerstin Müller, privat dozent and veterinarian at the small Animal Clinic. The most frequently treated mammals are squirrels, hedgehogs, and bats.
The intensity of veterinary care provided for wild animals in Berlin is unique in Germany and in Europe. For that reason some species are brought here from other German states and even other countries. The veterinarians at the Small Animal Clinic are often consulted by other wildlife stations. Roughly two thirds of the animals brought to the clinic can be healed.