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Welcome for new improved EU 'pet passports'

July 21, 2011 7:13 PM

Local Euro MP Liz Lynne has welcomed a Government decision to adopt improved EU 'pet passports' from January next year.

Under the EU's pet movement system, the passports will use vaccination data recorded on tiny microchips harmlessly inserted behind the animal's neck instead of paper documents.

The change will make it easier and cheaper for British people and pets to travel while maintaining controls against the spread of rabies.

Under the new system, pets travelling to and from EU countries, as well as Australia, Japan and theUSA, will only have to wait 21 days after vaccination instead of 6 months as at present. Blood tests will no longer be required.

Animals coming from 'unlisted' countries such as China and India will not have to undergo compulsory quarantine but must be vaccinated against rabies four months before travel and be blood tested.

The Government says that hundreds of thousands of animals have been moved since the paper-based EU pet passport scheme was introduced in 2003 without one single case of rabies being associated with them.

Liberal Democrat Euro-MP Liz Lynne said: "The Pet Passport scheme to allow the safe movement of much-loved pets without the misery of very long quarantine periods has been a great success.

"The move to a microchip system follows best practice as recommended by vets and will make it easier and cheaper for people to take their pets with them on their travels."

The new rules will also now include ferrets as well as cats and dogs, after expert evidence that the risk of extending a passport to ferrets and very young kittens were negligible, with blood tests no longer being required.

ENDS

Note: Rabies incidents across Europe fell from 2,679 cases in domestic animals in 1990 to just 251 in 2008, with none of the cases attributable to animals with 'passports' under the existing scheme.