Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots, has written to the Defra Secretary of State George Eustice and to the European Commission outlining his concerns about the unnecessary regulations now placed on pet travel, following the UK’s exit from the EU.
As a result of the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol, pet travellers moving from Great Britain (GB) to NI are now required to adhere to a range of new rules.
This includes the requirements that animals must get tapeworm treatment and a rabies vaccination, previously unnecessary given the tapeworm and rabies-free status of NI and the Republic of Ireland (ROI).
Speaking about the issue, the Minister said: “As a result of the NI Protocol, Northern Ireland’s pet owners are now facing onerous and unnecessary documentary checks as well as unjustified veterinary treatments, for diseases that we do not have.
“I have written to the Secretary of State George Eustice and the European Commission to ask for common sense and more specifically, a Common Travel Area to be applied between GB and NI and ROI – this is not unreasonable and would alleviate the real and serious concerns of pet travellers across all jurisdictions.”
The Minister continued: “A worrying outworking of these new requirements is that no thought has been given to the difficulties caused for assistance dog users and assistance training puppies. This means that some of the most vulnerable in our society are being directly affected – this cannot and must not be the case.
“I trust that the Defra Secretary of State and the European Commission will consider and recognise the impact of the concerns I have raised and will work with me to find a pragmatic and sensible solution to these issues.”