April 01, 2000


 UK travel restraint for pets partially lifted

Posted Mar. 15, 2000

The British government on Feb 28 began a pilot program that allows qualifying pets from the European Union and certain European countries to forgo its strict six-month rabies quarantine rule and enter the United Kingdom freely.

Under the Pets Travel Scheme, dogs and cats reentering the UK, and those traveling from one of 22 countries, would not be quarantined if they have been vaccinated against rabies, fitted with a microchip, and tested negative for the virus. Additional requirements include veterinary certification that the animal has been treated for tapeworm and ticks, and has not traveled beyond designated countries.

Pets entering the UK from North America and other countries where the rabies virus is active will continue to be quarantined.

Britain has been highly protective of its rabies-free status for nearly a century. In September 1998, however, the government said that, on the basis of the recommendations of an advisory panel, it was considering amending the law. The panel's suggestions were based in part on veterinary science advancements and changes in travel patterns since the law's creation in 1901.

Easing of the travel restrictions received support from pet owners opposed to separation from their animals for half a year.

It was announced in March 1999 that the measure had been adopted and would be fully operational in 2001.