The Kennel Club welcomes negotiations set to ease pet travel barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to dog health and welfare has today (4 February 2021) welcomed the Government’s commitment to addressing Brexit pet travel issues, supporting Westminster’s latest and pressing call to lift the barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Kennel Club applauds the action taken by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove in writing to the European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on Tuesday, seeking urgent action on Brexit checks – listing pet travel as one of six top priority areas to negotiate. Following subsequent crisis talks with the EU yesterday, a joint statement has been published stating that the UK and the EU will “immediately work intensively to find solutions to outstanding issues.” This includes the potential negotiation of a bilateral arrangement that “comprehensively addresses the barriers that are imposed on pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland.”

The Kennel Club has consistently raised significant concerns about the new rules and the serious implications for dogs, owners and breeders, as well as responsible puppy buying. The problematic policy outlines that owners would need new, complicated and costly paperwork to travel with pets for each journey from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, as well as to seek additional and unnecessary vet treatment before entering Northern Ireland. Furthermore, UK breeders with new owners based in Northern Ireland will be required to care for puppies for longer than recommended, including socialising and training a litter, and puppies will be separated from mum at a later stage of development, which could potentially lead to behavioural issues.

Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club said: “We thoroughly support this urgent call for the removal of pet travel barriers which have been imposed between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. After raising our serious concerns about the regulations with Government officials in the UK and Northern Ireland, who clearly are listening and recognise their severity and impact for puppies and dog owners, we are pleased that the EU also appear willing to address this issue.
“We thank the Minister for the Cabinet Office and those MPs who have ensured pet travel remained high on the agenda with the EU and who are working to find a solution for owners and pets in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We will continue to engage and support decision-makers in Government as they work with the EU to identify ways to ease these measures and remove the unnecessary barriers to travel for pet owners.”

Further information about The Kennel Club’s campaign to ensure smooth pet travel post-Brexit is available on the organisation’s website.