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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Explained: Why Britain’s pets are set to lose their EU ‘passports’

Starting January 1, pet cats, dogs and ferrets in Britain will lose their EU “pet passports”, thus making it more difficult for their owners to carry them to Northern Ireland and the rest of the Union.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 20, 2020 10:35:38 am
brexit, european union brexit, EU passports, EU “pet passports”, Britain brexit deal,From January 1, pet passports issued in Great Britain will no longer be valid for travel to the EU (Photo: Pixabay)

As the UK races to close in on a post-Brexit deal with two weeks to go till the transition deadline, a blameless group has been left complaining at the end of the long-drawn process– the country’s pet owners.

Starting January 1, pet cats, dogs and ferrets in Britain will lose their EU “pet passports”, thus making it more difficult for their owners to carry them to Northern Ireland and the rest of the Union.

 

What is a European ‘Pet Passport’?

Under the EU’s Pet Travel Scheme, a pet passport is a universal document that includes the animal’s details such as identification, ownership and medical information. It can only be issued for a cat, dog and ferret, and is obtained from authorised veterinarians in EU member states.

EU nationals can freely travel with their animal companions throughout the 27-member bloc with a pet passport that includes details of valid vaccinations, and do not need to place the animals in quarantine.

Non-EU countries can also become a part of the Pet Travel Scheme, if the bloc decides to award them with “listed” status, based on factors such as the robustness of their veterinary systems or incidence of rabies.📣 Follow Express Explained on Telegram

If a country gets listed, it is either placed in Part 1– a group which is subjected to the same rules as EU member states, or Part 2– where some additional requirements also apply, such as taking out a temporary health certificate for pets before every visit to the EU.

The Part 1 list currently consists of a small group of nations, including Switzerland, Iceland and the Vatican City State. Part 2 is a considerably larger group, and includes the US, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and Mauritius.

What will happen at the end of the Brexit transition period?

When the UK was a member of the EU, travellers from the country could take their pets to the EU and come back without having to place the animals into quarantine by carrying a valid pet passport and ensuring that the pet was microchipped — inserted with an RFID implant under the skin that helps identify its true owner and serves as a tracking tool.

From January 1, however, pet passports issued in Great Britain — England, Wales and Scotland — will no longer be valid for travel to the EU or to the fourth UK country of Northern Ireland, which is going to serve as an entry point to the EU.

As per a Reuters report, Britain had sought to be included among Part 1 countries, so as to ensure that its people could continue travelling to the EU with pets under the same rules that are applicable to them until December 31.

However, the EU has added Britain–including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands– to its Part 2 pet travel list, burdening visitors from these places with greater barriers. According to a UK government webpage, in addition to the requirements that were in place until December 31, travellers from the three Great Britain countries would now be required to carry a special Animal Health Certificate (AHC) every time they travel to the EU or Northern Ireland.

Apart from the AHC, pet dogs will also have to be treated against a type of tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) before travelling, a BBC report said.

The rules remain unchanged for travellers from the EU visiting Britain with pets, as the UK will continue to accept pet passports issued in the EU even after 2020, the same report said.

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