Thursday, 30 June 2011

Pet Passport comes into line with Europe - no 6 month wait from Jan 1

From Defra: 
It will become cheaper and easier to travel abroad with pets when new rules are introduced at the start of next year.

The UK will harmonise its pet movement rules with the rest of the European Union from 1 January 2012, bringing the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme into line with the most recent science. The UK will maintain its high level of protection against animal diseases after the changes, which have the potential to save pet owners around £7 million in fees.

Forcing pets to spend six months in quarantine, a practice dating from the 1800s, is no longer necessary because of vastly improved rabies vaccines and treatments.

All pets will still need to be vaccinated against rabies. Pets from the EU and listed non-EU countries such as the USA and Australia will no longer need a blood test and will only have to wait 21 days before they travel. Pets from unlisted non-EU countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa will be able to enter the UK if they meet certain strict criteria to ensure they are protected against rabies, including a blood test and a three-month wait before they enter the UK.

The changes will ensure the risk of rabies coming to the UK remains extremely low. It’s estimated that the new rules mean there would be one case of rabies in a pet in the UK once every 211 years, with the possibility of a person dying from rabies obtained from a pet once in every 21,000 years.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:

“The UK’s quarantine system was designed to combat the threat of rabies in the 19th century and has now been left far behind by scientific advances. It’s time we changed these outdated rules which have caused hardship to generations of pets and pet owners, and those who rely on assistance dogs, with too many animals cooped up unnecessarily.

“What is needed is a simpler, evidence-based system for protecting the UK from rabies which recognises the actual risk to pets and pet owners. The EU’s pet movement scheme has been working very well for nearly a decade, and it makes sense for us to have similar rules. It means the UK will remain protected from rabies and other exotic diseases while making it easier and cheaper for people to take their pets abroad.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

“Rabies is a very serious human disease and the rabies-free status of the UK must be protected. The pet travel scheme provides important protection of public health by ensuring that pets entering the UK are free of rabies and other infections.

“Scientific evidence shows that there is a robust alternative to quarantine in preventing rabies incursion from those countries where there is a high incidence of rabies and good reason for changing our very precautionary rules. The EU pet travel rules have been successful in preventing any cases of rabies occurring in legally moved pets since the scheme started, so harmonising the UK’s rules with those of the EU will make it easier for those who wish to travel with their pets.

“It is important to continue to protect the public against the risk of serious exotic tapeworm infections and the government is pressing to retain our tapeworm controls for pets entering the UK. The wider public health risks from exotic tick-borne infections and the need for tick controls for pets entering the UK will be kept under review.”

The UK has been discussing with the European Commission the most appropriate form of tapeworm controls for dogs, to ensure the UK continues to be protected from Echinococcus multilocularis. The Commission has recently indicated that its proposals, expected shortly, would enable the UK and other tapeworm-free countries to retain tapeworm controls, with a requirement that animals be treated between one and five days before returning to the UK.

Tick treatment for pet animals returning to the UK will no longer be required. All pet owners travelling abroad with their animals should discuss with their vets the use of treatments, including those designed to control ticks as part of good animal health practice.

The UK, along with Ireland, Sweden and Malta, has an exemption from the standard EU pet travel rules. They are all harmonising their entry rules with the rest of the EU at the same time as the UK.


What needs doing - now (first) and Jan 2012 (second):
 
  Microchip
   Yes
   Yes
  
  Rabies vaccination
   Yes
   Yes
  
  
Documentation (pet passport or third country certificate)
  Yes
   Yes
  
  Blood test (dogs and cats)
   Yes
   No
  
  Pre-entry waiting period
   Yes
   Yes
  
  Length of waiting period before entry to the UK
   6 months from date sample taken for blood test
    21 days after vaccination against rabies
  
  Tick treatment
   Yes (24-48 hours before embarkation)
   No
  
  Tapeworm treatment
   Yes (as for ticks)
   Under consideration at European level
  
 
Entry rules for pets entering the UK from unlisted non-EU countries:
 
 
  Microchip
   All pets from unlisted third countries are licensed into quarantine for 6 months and vaccinated against rabies on arrival
   Yes
  
  Rabies vaccination
   Yes
  
  Blood test
   Yes. Blood sample taken at least 30 days after vaccination.
  
  Documentation ( third country certificate)
   Yes
  
  Pre-entry waiting period
   Yes
  
  Length of waiting period before entry to the UK
    3 months after blood sample date
  
  Tick treatment
   No
  
  Tapeworm treatment
   Under consideration at European level
  
 

From the BVA:

Defra has announced that new rules on pet travel will be introduced from 1st January 2012. The changes will mean that the rules on rabies vaccination for entry into the UK will be in line with the rest of Europe.

Defra has carried out a scientific risk assessment to find out how the changes will affect the level of risk of rabies entering the UK. Although the probability of rabies introduction into the UKwill increase, the assessment found the risk to still be very low after the increase.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) are informing their members of the new rules so that the right advice can be given to pet owners planning to travel abroad with their animals.

Dogs, cats and pet ferrets entering the UK from an EU or ‘listed’ third country from 1 January 2012 must:

  • be microchipped
  • be vaccinated against rabies
  • have waited 21 days after vaccination before entering
  • have an EU Pet Passport

The current requirement to carry out a blood test followed by a six-month wait before entry into the UK will no longer be required.

From 1st January pets entering from a non-listed third country must pass a blood test 30 days after vaccination followed by a three-month wait.

Until now, the UK, Ireland and three other Member States have had derogations from EU pet travel rules to allow for additional controls to protect against rabies, ticks and tapeworms.

Successful vaccination programmes in wildlife in mainland Europe have now allowed the UK to consider whether the additional controls for rabies are still necessary.

The BVA and BSAVA have continued to lobby in Europe for additional controls to be maintained for tapeworms, which could introduce Echinococcus multilocularis to the UK – a significant public health concern.

Although a final decision has not yet been made the European Commission has indicated that it will support the UK case for additional tapeworm controls.

Commenting, Harvey Locke, President of the BVA, said:

“It is vital that any controls on animal movements are proportionate to the risk.

“Due to the highly successful vaccination programme in wildlife in mainland Europe there has been a huge reduction in the incidence in rabies. Research carried out by Defra reveals that the risk of introducing rabies under the new rules is very low.

 “However, it is essential that pet owners get good veterinary advice when planning to take their animals abroad because pets can be exposed to a number of diseases not currently endemic in the UK, for example leishmaniasis, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis.

“As part of responsible ownership we would always advise pet owners to visit their vet for a pre-travel consultation to discuss how to protect the health and welfare of their animals when travelling abroad.”

Andrew Ash, President of the BSAVA, added:

“The Pet Travel Scheme has been highly successful in keeping the UK free of rabies. BVA andBSAVA have been working closely with Defra to ensure that any changes to the pet travel rules do not threaten our disease-free status.

“The rabies vaccine has advanced and now has a longer duration of immunity and we welcome the continuing requirement for all pets to be vaccinated before travel.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. More information is available on the Defra website, including a leaflet for pet owners:http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/

2. A Q&A for vets is available on the AHVLA website:http://animalhealth.defra.gov.uk/about/official-vets/guidance/index.html

3. Defra is writing to all Official Veterinarians to explain the changes and the BVA and BSAVAare contacting members to inform them

4. The BVA AWF leaflet ‘Taking your pet abroad’ will be updated to explain the changes. The current edition provides information on a number of diseases encountered abroad:http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/resources/leaflets/BVA_AWF_Taking_your_pets_abroad_1008.pdf

5. For more information please contact the BVA Media Office on 020 7908 6340 ormedia@bva.co.uk

2 comments:

Jo Lovell said...

I wish they had done this for this year. I have bought a puppy in to widen the breed's gene pool and she's having to wait till she is 10 months old before she can come here. Next year she will only be 4 months.

Anonymous said...

Whilst I am all for anything that helps people to keep their animals with them, I am concerned that the rabies vaccination does not always take the first time, my own bitch is eveidence of this and it was only proved by the blood test results. All in all though, a good idea as it will, hopefully, stop those ex-pats in France, returning to England, looking for "foster homes" for their dogs and cats "just until the six months is up" and then never being heard from again!