It will become cheaper and easier to
travel abroad with pets when new rules are introduced at the start of next
The UK will harmonise its pet movement
rules with the rest of the European Union from 1 January 2012, bringing the
UK’s Pet Travel Scheme into line with the most recent science. The UK will
maintain its high level of protection against animal diseases after the
changes, which have the potential to save pet owners around £7 million in fees.
Forcing pets to spend six months in
quarantine, a practice dating from the 1800s, is no longer necessary because of
vastly improved rabies vaccines and treatments.
All pets will still need to be
vaccinated against rabies. Pets from the EU and listed non-EU countries such as
the USA 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 changes will ensure the risk of
rabies coming to the UK remains extremely low. It’s estimated that the new
rules mean there would be one case of rabies in a pet in the UK once every 211
years, with the possibility of a person dying from rabies obtained from a pet
once in every 21,000 years.