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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Kennel owners bid for compensation
Dog in quarantine
Fewer animals now need to go into quarantine
The Quarantine Association has taken the government to the High Court to try to win compensation for laws, which it claims is damaging business.

The Salisbury-based association says the amount of animals which need placing in quarantine has dropped considerably due to the introduction of the pet passport scheme in January last year.

Stuart Isaacs QC, representing the association, said this has caused lots of kennels to close down.

They are challenging the government's refusal to set up a compensation scheme, which was outlined in a letter sent in May 2000 from the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Maff).

A lot of people are praying very hard that we get a positive judgment

Michael Wyckeham
Mr Isaacs said not paying compensation was an "unlawful interference with peaceful enjoyment of the claimants' possessions", violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

Animals do not have to be quarantined now providing they comply with identification conditions and are vaccinated against rabies in permitted countries.

Michael Wyckeham, who owns Knightwood Kennels near Salisbury and is the chairman of the Quarantine Association, has lost 35% of his profits.

Mr Wykeham said: "A lot of people are praying very hard that we get a positive judgment.

'Devastating' impact

"There has been a great deal of pain and suffering in the industry, with many going out of business and one member attempting to commit suicide."

Mr Isaacs told Mrs Justice Rafferty, sitting in London, the impact from the introduction of pets passports has been "devastating because it makes no provision whatever for the payment of compensation to quarantine facility owners for the losses sustained by them as a result".

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has provided figures to show there had been at least a 30% drop in business since 1997.

Since 1996 the Quarantine Association estimates the number of animals requiring quarantine has more than halved.

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