After a decade of driving dogs, caravanning cats and ferrying ferrets, in which 660,000 pet journeys were made using pet passports, the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is celebrating its 10th birthday.

After a decade of driving dogs, caravanning cats and ferrying ferrets, in which 660,000 pet journeys were made using pet passports, the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is celebrating its 10th birthday.    
 
Dog in a suitcaseOwners were first able to travel to and from the UK without placing their pets in quarantine (as long as they fulfilled certain important disease control criteria) on February 28, 2000. The first animal to travel with a pet passport was a pug called Frodo Baggins, and since then the UK has shown itself to be animal friendly with around 60 per cent of the pets travelling under the scheme belonging to UK owners. Animals from Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands make up about another 20 per cent.

The scheme was set up in response to growing demand from owners to travel with their pets and the declining risk of disease allowed these changes to be made. In 2004 the European Union followed the UK’s lead and introduced a similar system for all member states, which is said to have proved successful.

According to DEFRA, the success of the scheme is fully demonstrated by the fact that it has not been associated with a single case of rabies.

Animal welfare minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “The Pet Travel Scheme was set up to enable British animal owners to enjoy travelling with their pets when they need to. The success of the scheme shows that responsible pet ownership makes a large contribution to managing disease risks effectively.”

As rabies in Europe steadily reduces, and with EU harmonised rules continuing to successfully control rabies, DEFRA is monitoring developments in vaccination and disease management in the EU and round the world to ensure that the UK has the most effective and proportionate controls possible as circumstances continue to change.

Guidance on the Pet Movements System and on the best way to travel responsibly with pets is available at http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/index.htm

Image ©iStockphoto.com/Eriklam
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