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Sharon Bowles MEP backs Pets' Passport scheme for cats, dogs and ferrets

March 9, 2010 3:00 PM

New EU rules will allow family pets to take continental holidays for years to come.

Agreement has been reached to extend the 'Pets' Passport' scheme for cats, dogs and ferrets that have been vaccinated against rabies.

British pets are likely to benefit most - they make up 60% of the animals in Europe taking advantage of the arrangements.

Lib Dem MEP Sharon Bowles said:

"The UK's Pets' Travel scheme, which was introduced 10 years ago, ended the misery of quarantine for thousands of pets.

"The UK arrangements were copied and extended throughout the EU in 2005 and have proved to be a great success.

"With this in mind, the new EU rules, which broaden the scheme to include cats, dogs and ferrets, are welcome news.

Rabies incidents across Europe have fallen from 2,679 cases in domestic animals in 1990 to just 251 in 2008, with none attributable to animals with 'passports.'

But some EU countries still maintain restrictions. In Portugal, for example, ferrets are classified as 'vermin' and may be destroyed by the authorities.

Pets' 'passports' are usually embedded microchips that provide proof of rabies vaccination.