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Dogs Trust highlight an issue with dog immigration

Posted by: Tim Berrisford  Date: 28/11/2014   Category: Latest News

The Dogs Trust have participated in recording undercover footage that has revealed that there is a huge increase of dogs being transported to the UK from eastern Europe without the relevant checks, increasing the likeliness of an outbreak of rabies.

The footage reveals vets in both Hungary and Lithuania happily consenting and creating false passports and false papers to go with them, allowing them into the UK without the correct checks being done. This abuse of the current system is something that could see the UK in serious trouble if an outbreak of rabies occurs as it is unknown exactly how many dogs and puppies have entered the UK without the checks being done first.

Rabies is currently active in over 150 countries and more than 55,000 people die from it each year, 99% of which were infected from dogs. Over 15 million people are treated for rabies every year worldwide.
The Pet Travel Scheme has been blasted for clearly not working after the footage filmed by the Dogs Trust shows puppies and dogs being allowed to travel between countries without undergoing any quarantine at all.  The Pet Travel Scheme changed two years ago which meant dogs from the EU and approved non EU countries could enter the UK without having a blood test and simply had to wait 21 days after being vaccinated whereas before 2012 they had to be micro chipped, vaccinated against rabies and given a blood test. They must then wait 6 months before entering the UK.

Nigel Gibbens, the UK’s chief veterinary officer and Defra’s chief spokesman, explained his worry for the Pet Travel Scheme: “We are seeing evidence of animals being fraudulently introduced under the pet’s passport scheme, and that needs to stop. The UK has, throughout the time we’ve been running the regime since January 2012, carried out more checks than other member states. So another of the [Pet Travel Scheme] changes is that all member states, all countries of the EU, will be required to do a proportion of checks. Rabies in the EU is a very low risk. It’s been eradicated almost throughout the EU. So those countries don’t present a big threat.”

Whilst it is a low threat of the UK getting infected, many would think to have a threat at all is still too dangerous and with the recent research performed by Dogs Trust showing just how easy it is for rabies to enter the UK, is it now time to re-evaluate the pet travel scheme?