The UK’s largest dog organisation has criticised a new report released today (30 September) by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee examining the Government’s response to Brexit and pet travel.
The Committee’s ‘Moving Animals Across Borders’ report follows a five-month inquiry into how new Brexit regulations will impact pet travel, illegal movements of animals across borders, and economic interests. The report claims that requirements for those travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland with pet dogs, cats and ferrets can be eased by the United Kingdom obtaining ‘Part 1 listed’ status under EU travel rules.
“During an EFRA Select Committee hearing in November, the Government gave assurance that there would be no difference in paperwork for pet owners wishing to travel between Somerset and Northern Ireland than if they were to travel from Somerset to Scotland or Wales,” said Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club. “Unfortunately, this is not the case, and we hoped the EFRA inquiry would recognise that it’s unnecessary and unacceptable to require dog owners to vaccinate their dogs for rabies in order to travel from one part of the UK to another. Instead, the Committee has recommended that the Government merely seeks to reduce the amount of EU mandated paperwork required to travel with their dogs, cats or ferrets from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.”
The Kennel Club provided written evidence to the EFRA Committee inquiry about the barriers, inconsistencies and wide-ranging negative impacts for dogs, puppies and owners resulting from the new post-Brexit pet travel rules, including new requirements for those travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland with their pets, which include a rabies vaccination and expensive travel paperwork, for each trip, from a vet.
Dr Ed Hayes continued: “Other recommendations set forth in the Committee’s report, including raising awareness of the rule changes, stronger enforcement of the rules, and higher penalties for puppy smugglers are warmly welcomed. However, we do not believe that the EFRA Committee, nor the UK Government, should accept the implementation of EU rules and checks on those travelling with their dogs entirely within the UK.
“The spectre of border checks and vaccination requirements now necessary to travel from Great Britain to Northern Ireland must be urgently removed, and dog owners must be able to travel freely within the UK. Whilst we welcomed the recent UK Government announcement regarding an indefinite suspension of routine checks on pet travel, it is clear that this is not a permanent solution. As such, we are urging dog owners who will be affected by the new travel rules operating between Great Britain and Northern Ireland to write to their elected representative to press the UK Government on this matter so that a permanent solution can be found.”