Temporary national measures to prevent the spread of rabies, tapeworm and ticks to the UK and four other EU Member States are to be prolonged “for the last time” until December 2011. MEPs voted 618 votes to 17 in favour of the extension.

Temporary national measures to prevent the spread of rabies, tapeworm and ticks to the UK and other EU Member States are to be prolonged “for the last time” until December 2011. MEPs voted 618 votes to 17 in favour of an extension.
 
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) have been lobbying MEPs to support the extension and have strongly welcomed this decision.
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Transitional arrangements contained within the regulation on the non-commercial movement of pet animals (Reg. 998/2003) allow the UK, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Sweden to impose stricter measures on the entry of pet animals and are designed to protect these countries from rabies, ticks and tapeworms (Echinococcus multilocularis).
 
These national measures apply in addition to EU-wide rules, which since 2003 have required cats, dogs and ferrets travelling between EU Member States to be identified by an electronic microchip or a clearly readable tattoo and accompanied by a passport giving proof of an anti-rabies vaccination.
 
The vote in the European Parliament yesterday (March 9) supports an extension of these arrangements until the end of 2011 and puts in place a system so that permanent measures can be imposed in the future for entry to specific Member States based on scientific evidence. The decision will have to be ratified by the European Agriculture Council before coming into force.
 
BVA president Bill Reilly said: “The Pet Travel Scheme affords the UKs pet, wildlife and human populations protection from serious diseases and parasites and we have long argued for these arrangements to remain until scientific evidence can prove that the risk is manageable.
 
BSAVA president Richard Dixon“The BVA and BSAVA have worked closely with DEFRA to secure this extension to the arrangements and we will now be pushing for investment in additional scientific research that will give us a clearer picture of the threat of the parasite Echinococcus multilocularis and other exotic and emerging diseases.”
 
Richard Dixon, president of BSAVA, added: “This decision in Europe is strongly welcomed and we are pleased that veterinary associations across Europe supported our position. The next stage is to gather further evidence to ensure the UK is protected in the future.
 
“In the meantime, the key message for pet owners is that they must talk to their vets as early as possible to find out how to protect them from disease and parasites when travelling abroad.”

 

Passport image: Ross Brown
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