New Quarantine Laws Will Please Pet Owners

QUARANTINE laws in the UK will be relaxed from the beginning of this month.

The current laws governing the movement of pets will be brought into line with European legislation.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said “vastly improved rabies vaccines” meant pets no longer had to spend six months in quarantine when entering the UK.

But some animal welfare groups claim the changes could expose Britain to an increased risk of rabies.

Britain’s quarantine laws were introduced in the 19th Century to combat the threat of rabies.

VACCINATED

Currently, any dog, cat or ferret entering the UK must be vaccinated against and blood tested for the disease before being quarantined for six months.

From January 2012, pets from the EU and listed non-EU countries such as the US and Australia will no longer need a blood test and will only have to wait 21 days before they travel.

Pets from unlisted non-EU countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa will be able to enter the UK if they meet certain strict criteria to ensure they are protected against rabies, including a blood test and a three-month wait before they enter the UK.

The new regulations will please many expat animal owners. Defra said that bringing the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme into line with the rest of the European Union had the potential to save pet owners about £7m in fees.

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