To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Dogs Trust report entitled Puppy Smuggling - When will this cruel trade end?, whether his Department plans to (a) reintroduce rabies blood testing and (b) extend the wait period for puppies before they can enter the UK from the EU after the UK has left the EU.
Defra takes the threat to public and animal health posed by animals entering the United Kingdom (UK) very seriously and requires rabies vaccination for pet animals (cats, dogs and ferrets) entering the country, as well as other high risk species entering zoos or pets destined for the pet trade.
Pet travel between EU member states and from some other lower risk third countries requires a rabies vaccination followed by a 21 day waiting period. For third countries with higher rabies risk, stricter rules apply involving a rabies antibody titration test and waiting period. A quantitative risk assessment was carried out in 2011, which assessed the risk of a pet animal with rabies entering the UK under the EU Pet Travel Scheme (PTS) as very low. Since then, there have been no rabies incursions in the UK, but Defra continues to monitor the disease situation and will undertake a further formal risk assessment if evidence indicates that one is warranted.
The Government has no immediate plans to change the rabies regime in the short term after the UK’ leaves the EU. For entry into the UK the current pet travel health requirements will continue to apply, although additional controls could be considered at a later date.