Rescue animals or animals being moved to Great Britain for rehoming involves either the sale or the transfer of ownership of the animal and are classed as commercial movements. Therefore, these animals must move under the commercial rules. Great Britain has temporarily suspended the commercial import of dogs, cats and ferrets if they originate from or have been dispatched from Belarus, Poland, Romania or Ukraine, until 9 July 2022.
We appreciate the impact that the temporary suspension will have on those looking to adopt from these countries, however, this measure is important to protect our biosecurity and the health of pets in this country.
This decision has been taken because of the serious health risk to humans and animals in Great Britain from commercial cats, dogs and ferrets from Belarus, Poland, Romania or Ukraine that do not comply with UK health and documentation requirements.
We understand the fluid situation at present due to the crisis and are aware that Romania, Belarus and Poland are currently experiencing high volumes of animal movements from Ukraine. Movements from these countries into Great Britain therefore present a higher risk at the current time due to the flow of animals from Ukraine.
In particular, there is evidence to suggest that commercial consignments of pet animals from Ukraine are being moved into Poland, Romania and Belarus, including strays, rescue and abandoned animals. Unlike non-commercial pets accompanying Ukrainian refugees, these animals often have unknown history and disease status which increases the risk of disease spread.
We have amongst the highest standards of biosecurity in the world. The Government takes the importation of pets seriously and is committed to preserving our high standards of biosecurity. The movement of commercial pets from Belarus, Poland, Romania and Ukraine represents a clear and serious enough biosecurity risk at the current time, that we therefore consider the suspension of these movements necessary to protect the health of people and pets in Great Britain.
The Government appreciates the work of genuine rescue and rehoming organisations who work to ensure that unwanted and abandoned animals are given the opportunity to find a forever home whilst importantly complying with our animal health and welfare legislation. We continue to engage with stakeholders on the issue. However, this is a temporary measure which will be reviewed in due course.