Passports for Pets
The voluntary organisation for quarantine reform in the UK - Achievements and Goals
Passports for Pets was formed in 1994 to press for change in the UK’s outdated system which imposed quarantine on all pet dogs and cats entering the country. Our argument was based on scientific evidence – the modern rabies vaccine had made reform possible, and in February 2000 the first correctly prepared pet dogs and cats entered the UK from Western Europe without having to spend 6 months in quarantine. We continued campaigning for the inclusion of the US and Canada and in 2002 they were admitted. Many more countries have now been accepted into the scheme. We continue to have regular contact with DEFRA. We are also pressing for a reduction in the six month wait from the blood test to entry to the UK and for revision of the compulsory treatment for ticks and worms each time a pet enters the country. To date 750,000 pet dogs and cats have entered the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme with not one case of rabies detected, other than in bats. We shall continue to monitor the operation of the Pet Travel Scheme and to press for further improvements.
The UK control system has been integrated into a wider EU system which has greatly facilitated pet movement within Europe. The UK however still retains some additional barriers, created as recently as 2000, requiring the administration of extra pills, injections or spot-on treatments just before animals embark for the UK, to guard against diseases transmitted by ticks and by one particularly noxious worm. The timing is highly inconvenient for pet owners and a considerable disincentive to travel. Within Europe only Sweden maintains a similar system (but on a more moderate and user-friendly basis.) We are continuing to seek change to these regulations.
We are also pressing for better arrangements for those who travel with assistance dogs. The airlines have taken some steps to facilitate travel for such special needs but more is needed. There is a problem over the use of search and rescue dogs: if they go outside the countries approved for pet travel even if totally protected by the correct administration of the approved rabies vaccine, they still have to undergo 6 months quarantine on their return to the UK, which largely nullifies their training.
A separate question of direct concern to pet owners is the insistence of the government that incoming pets must travel in the hold as cargo. This adds greatly to the airline charge and explains why on many routes return flights to the UK cost four times as much as the outward flight. The official explanation is that this is necessary to guarantee full control of animals arriving at UK airports. Better alternatives are available if the authorities were willing to explore them.
We are pressing also for owners of private planes to be able to bring their pets into the UK. They would land at designated airports (with animal checking facilities) and they would of course follow all the rules laid down by the Ministry. The extra costs incurred would be paid for by the private plane owner.
But of deepest concern is the lack of any action by the government to implement statutory welfare standards in quarantine kennels. The powers in the 1998 Bill (the Paul Flynn Bill) have not been applied. Quarantine Kennels still operate solely on a voluntary welfare basis which is totally unsatisfactory. Meanwhile pet dogs and cats entering quarantine FOR SIX MONTHS do not have the protection they deserve and are owed.
Following the success of our original campaign for quarantine reform Passports for Pets no longer asks for a membership fee and operates on a purely voluntary basis. We do however still have considerable office expenses and welcome contributions from pet owners who have benefited from our earlier successes and support what we are still aiming to achieve. We continue to work for improvements.
The 11th anniversary of the Pet Travel
On February 28th 2011 we shall be celebrating the 11th anniversary of the Pet Travel Scheme. Passports for Pets campaigned for seven years to change the outdated and cruel quarantine system in the UK and thanks to the modern vaccine and the support of so many of you we succeeded. Since February 28th 2000 over 750,000 correctly prepared pet dog and cats (and some ferrets) armed with their Pet Passports, have entered the UK, by-passing the painful misery of quarantine. The UK has remained rabies-free.
We are waiting an announcement from the ministry regarding changes to:
a) the 6 month wait from the taking of the blood test before entry into the UK and
b) the tick and worm treatment before entry into the UK have twice been extended at the request of DEFRA and now stand until December 2011.
The vast majority of EU countries agree, as do most expert vets, that 3 months is enough time from the taking of blood following a rabies vaccination to allowing a dog safely into their country. Why is this being delayed in the UK? Meanwhile dog and cats that do not comply with entry requirements into the UK and have to go into quarantine are being needlessly subjected to six months incarceration when 3 months would suffice.
The only people to benefit from this derogation are the quarantine kennels, at the expense of the animal’s welfare and owners pocket. This serious animal welfare issue must be addressed by DEFRA and not allowed to continue for the benefit of the quarantine kennels.
'Country Life' magazine article
Pet passports barking up the right tree - 27th January 2010
Travelling dog owners are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the date the first animals granted permission to travel abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme arrived at Folkestone. Since then more than 650,000 pets have made the returned journeys to Britain. The regulations, the culmination of six year’s campaigning by diplomat’s wife Lady Fretwell, relieved – with caveats over rabies injections – pets and their owners of an enforced six-months quarantine period. However, lady Fretwell, who was spurred into action by the distress caused to her basset hound, Bertie, by his incarceration after a posting to Paris, is lobbying DEFRA for a review of the law.
“Now, the period for waiting to check the rabies vaccination is six months, when every vet knows that it should be three,” she explains. “And it would be the most amazing present if Eurostar would allow (paying ) pets to travel on their trains, as French and British trains do.” “The scheme really has made the most enormous difference,” says dog owner Lavender Patten who helped lobby for the cause when her husband Chris was governor of Hong Kong. “A lot of people were in the same position – those in the army and diplomatic community. When we came back, we left the dogs at our house in France rather than putting them through quarantine. We now travel to and from France with our Basset fauve de Bretagne, Archie.”
Companies cash-in on our
We have noticed that a few pet transporters and carrying agents are advertising and benefiting from the use of our name. We strongly object to this practice, We have nothing to do with any them and do not endorse them. We have no commercial involvements whatsoever and act solely as a voluntary organisation dealing with the changes to quarantine and advice on bringing pet dogs and cats into the UK.
You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to our London address:
PASSPORTS FOR PETS
Flat 11, 45 Queen's Gate
London SW7 SHR
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7589 6409
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7589 6403