To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that there is adequate veterinary capacity to meet the demand for (a) rabies (i) vaccinations and (ii) testing and (b) the issuing of health certificates for pets travelling to the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Currently all pet dogs, cat and ferrets leaving the UK for other EU countries are required to have rabies vaccinations, therefore leaving the EU is unlikely to significantly impact on veterinary capacity to carry out vaccinations.
In the unlikely event that the United Kingdom leaves the EU without a deal and the UK is an unlisted third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme (PTS) there would be some additional requirements that veterinarians would need to carry out to so that their clients’ pets could travel to the EU. These would be taking a blood sample for rabies antibody testing at an approved blood testing laboratory. However, provided a pet has an up-to-date rabies vaccination there would be no need to repeat the blood test during the animal’s lifetime. Should the UK become an unlisted third country after leaving the EU there may be an impact on demand for rabies serology tests in UK laboratories. We are preparing for an increase in demand on laboratories for these tests to enable pet owners to continue to visit the EU with their animals under all exit scenarios.
For each trip a pet animal makes from the UK to the EU its owner would need a health certificate. Both the blood sample and health certificate would need to be completed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) authorised to issue pet travel documents. There are currently over 9,600 OVs authorised to issue pet travel documents in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs are responsible for pet travel documentation.