The UK will harmonise its pet movement rules with the rest of the European Union from 1 January 2012, bringing the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme into line with the most recent science. The UK will maintain its high level of protection against animal diseases after the changes, which have the potential to save pet owners around £7 million in fees.
Forcing pets to spend six months in quarantine, a practice dating from the 1800s, is no longer necessary because of vastly improved rabies vaccines and treatments.
The Daily Telegraph, reporting the news, adds:
Lady Fretwell, who has campaigned for the end to the quarantine system and for Britain to adopt European pet passport rules, said: "It will make a huge, huge difference. People will no longer need to plan months in advance. If people move jobs it will mean they will no longer be forced to leave their pets behind for months.
"And the dropping of the blood test – for me, that's 'yippee'".
Many vets charge pet owners £100 for the blood test, which most scientists say is completely unnecessary. It is understood that a report, commissioned by Defra, will calculate that pet owners will save £7 million a year as a result of the dropping of this requirement.
An estimated 100,000 owners a year use the pet passport scheme to take their animals on holiday or on work trips.