The BBC is reporting that concerned animal welfare and veterinary groups are concerned with a heightened risk of rabies in the United Kingdom after the Pet Travel Scheme was changed last year. According to the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), “during 2011, 85,774 dogs entered the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme. In 2012, that rose to 139,216 dogs – an increase of 62%.” These groups feel that 21 days is not enough for the vaccine to be effective.
The issue is not so much about pets traveling to the UK from countries with active rabies programs like the United States, Canada or Mexico. It is steming from concern about illegal puppy importing from countries in Eastern Europe where rabies is “endemic.” It appears that, for those who are caught, a 3 week quarantine is more tolerable than a 6 month quarantine. The sale of puppies has become a big business in many countries in Europe and the Middle East where some breeds have risen to a new stature among the middle and upper classes and importers from other countries can more easily advertise their puppies.
One could certainly argue that the tourist industry has certainly benefited from the relaxed regulations. We would hope that the United Kingdom would not find cause to reverse its ruling. Countries that actively fight rabies should not be penalized for their efforts.
Read more about Concern about pet travel and the new Pet Travel Scheme rules. Picture courtesy of All-Puppies.com.