Animal-owners at risk of no-deal Brexit disruption

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Theo Knight-Jones, the States Vet, confirmed this as one consequence of a no-deal Brexit, but said negotiations were ongoing between the UK and Brussels with a view to avoiding this ‘worst-case scenario’.

If the UK did fail to agree a deal, pet and livestock owners would be forced to travel to England, before leaving
from there to enter the European Union.

Their animals could also be forced to undergo much higher levels of scrutiny, with, for example, stricter requirements for vaccinations.

The uncertainty over the future of travel for animals is one issue on a long list of matters still to be resolved should there be no Brexit deal. Others include the shape of future trade and customs agreements , and the potential impact on core industries such as financial services and agriculture.

Last week, a post about the issue appeared on the Guernsey States Vet’s Facebook page. This post related specifically to horses but it is understood there could be complications for all animals.

The post said: ‘With a no-deal Brexit, the Channel Islands would be a “third country” so horses travelling to Europe would have to enter via a border inspection post (BIP).

‘There is no BIP in St Malo and the French have no intention of creating any new BIPs.

‘Horses resident in the Channel Islands would have to travel to Europe via the UK to enter Europe through a BIP, and this would significantly increase their journey times. The journey distance from Guernsey to St Malo is 70 miles but via Dover is 646 miles.’

Mr Knight-Jones confirmed that the issue was also relevant in Jersey.

‘It would have implications for livestock and livestock products. If we had a bad Brexit deal, it could make moving animals to France a much more laborious process,’ he said.

‘It could also mean that anyone moving animals to Europe could require pre-inspection, a pre-agreement certification and may have to have their animals specially inspected on arrival at a port in the EU.

‘However, we are talking about a worst-case scenario and we still do not know what is going to happen yet.’

Meanwhile Sari Cuming, vice chairman for the Jersey Riding Club, said that the potential changes to travel arrangements could raise significant animal welfare issues.

‘There is a growing number of local equestrians and racehorse trainers who compete in Europe,’ she said.

‘Leisure horses are imported, and animals are sent to Europe for specialist diagnostic veterinary treatment, which is unavailable locally.

‘It is a one-hour journey to France compared to up to 12 hours to the UK and then an onward journey to Dover and continental Europe.’

A technical notice, recently published by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, sets out what would happen in an ‘unlikely’ worst-case scenario.

It states that pet-owners would have to notify an ‘official veterinarian’ that they were planning to move their animal at least four months prior to the date of travel.

It also adds that owners would need to provide a blood test from their pets to prove their animals were effectively vaccinated.

If both of these requirements were satisfied, animals would then need to be taken back to an official veterinarian to receive a health certificate – valid for ten days for entry into the EU and four months of onward travel.

On arrival in the EU, pet-owners would be required to report to an inspection point where they would need to present their documents along with proof that their animal is micro-chipped and vaccinated.

The notice states, however: ‘A scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome.’

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