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Monday, March 22, 1999 Published at 08:32 GMT


UK

Pet passports on the way

This Rottweiler may soon have a passport

The government is set to scrap the UK's tough quarantine rules and replace them with a system of pet passports and microchips.

A commons statement is expected later this week from Agriculture Minister Nick Brown.


[ image: The chips would be embedded under an animals' skin]
The chips would be embedded under an animals' skin
A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said: "Ministers have indicated that quarantine reform is desirable. An announcement can be expected soon."

The new scheme would reduce the numbers of animals kept for six months in quarantine as they enter the country.

This costs owners up to 2,000 and often results in heartbreak for owners who miss their pets.

A report in The Times newspaper says the prime minister is behind the idea.

But it believes his deputy, John Prescott, is concerned over the extra burdens that may be placed on airports and ferry companies.


[ image: Pet passport control is computerised in Sweden]
Pet passport control is computerised in Sweden
A system of microchips and passports is already in operation in Sweden.

The chips are embedded under a pet's skin and those with a clean bill of health are permitted to travel freely through the country ports.

A campaign group Passports for Pets has been bidding for the UK to adopt similar measures.

But Mr Brown has been at pains to make clear that his "primary concern is to protect the country from rabies" and not to satisfy the demands of pet owners.

The Swedish scheme applies only to animals from other European Union countries, and they are still checked and vaccinated four months after entering the country.





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29 Oct 98|UK Politics
Passports 'on the way' for pets

06 Aug 98|UK
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18 Jun 98|UK Politics
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