To launch EU Veterinary Week the British Veterinary Association (BVA)is launching a new poster to educate pet owners about the need toprotect their animals against exotic diseases when travelling abroad.
The poster, intended for veterinary practice waiting rooms, goes out free with The Veterinary Record this weekend (September 26) to coincide with the BVA Congress session “Pets and politics” on September 25 at 4pm and kick start EU Veterinary Week 2009 (September 28 to October 4).
The “Pets and politics” session, chaired by Harvey Locke, incoming president-elect of the BVA, will discuss the future of pet travel in Europe from both European and public health perspectives.
Speakers at the session are Hélène Klein, veterinary administrator at the European Commissions Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs (DG SANCO) and Dilys Morgan from the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections.
The poster is being launched in association with the BVA’s Animal Welfare Foundation (BVA AWF) and the BSAVA. It reminds pet owners to ask their vets about preventive treatments and advertises the free BVA AWF leaflet, Taking your pets abroad, which sets out information on the more common diseases encountered abroad and how to prevent or avoid them.
The BVA has also welcomed the publication of the FVE (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe) opinion paper on the amendments to Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 on pet travel which will allow a further 18 months for those Member States in which rabies still occurs to make adequate efforts to complete the eradication of rabies within the EU. The additional time will also allow risk assessments to be carried out in preparation for harmonisation.
Launching the poster campaign, Bill Reilly, who becomes BVA president on September 27, said: “The main message of this campaign is that prevention is better than cure and it is never too soon to start planning the precautions needed.
“Taking animals abroad involves a lot of organising and pet owners should start talking to their vets as soon as possible to make sure they get the right advice to protect the health of their pets. For holidays next spring some vaccinations may need to be administered now.
“Politicians in Europe are currently debating changes to the pet travel rules but whether the rules change or not it is vital that pet owners understand the risks involved with taking their pets out of the UK and get the best possible advice to avoid diseases.”
Carl Padgett, BVA AWF chairman of trustees, said: “Part of the BVA AWFs mission is to improve the welfare of animals though education. Highlighting our Taking your pets abroad leaflet to pet owners is a fantastic way for vets to help protect animals from exotic diseases.
“I would encourage all small animal and mixed practices to display this poster and stock copies of the BVA AWF leaflet.”
Richard Dixon, president of BSAVA, added: “Most pet owners are responsible when it comes to taking their animals abroad but anything we can do to encourage more people to find out about protection and prevention is a very positive step forward.”