The UK government has tightened its controls on flying pets freely around Europe. From Monday, new “pet passports” have been released by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with added restrictions to improve the traceability and security of our fluffy companions.
To transport pets around EU countries the government implements its Pet Travel Scheme. It allows dogs, cats, and even ferrets to travel with their owners without quarantine — as long as the rules are met. If you were to take your cat to the US for example, or your lizard to Pakistan, you’d face a much lengthier, tougher process. The EU is about free movement, after all.
However, on Dec. 29 a number of changes came into effect, which the UK’s great number of pet owners need to know about before taking their much-loved animal for some paella and sangria.
The significant changes are listed below:
- a new minimum age of 12 weeks before a pet can be vaccinated against rabies
- new pet passports will include laminated strips and a requirement for more contact details to be provided by the vet issuing the document and certifying the veterinary treatments
- a new requirement for all member states in the EU to carry out checks on their borders (the UK already checks all pets coming into the country through approved routes)
- a tighter definition of non-commercial movement which will mean owners who cannot travel with a pet when they enter the EU, must do so within 5 days; owners can still authorise another person to travel with their pet, but again the pet and authorised person must travel within 5 days of each other
Under DEFRA rules, pets have to be microchipped to confirm their identify when abroad. And each one requires a pet passport to enjoy an adventure. The updated documentation will come with laminated strips, as well as lots of details about the animal. The extra security is meant to prevent tampering with information given by vets.
If you already have a passport for your pet you don’t need to get a new one — unlike their human counterparts, they last a lifetime.
People who travel across Europe aren’t always asked to present their pet’s passport, the government notes, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Checks might be undertaken on rail, sea, and air routes. It’s also harder to go abroad or back on UK land with more than five animals.
Just in case you’re wondering, here are the exact definitions of dogs, cats, and ferrets…
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