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EU set to approve flight breaks for ‘long-haul’ pets

PETS TRAVELLING to the UK on long-haul flights may soon be allowed to break their trips without having to re-prepare for the UK PETS Travel Scheme with six months ‘in-country’ quarantine before continuing their journey.

Also, they may also be allowed to travel with their owners in the cabin on long haul flights.
The change in the Pet Passport-based requirements has come about as the result of a new EU directive which comes into effect in July of this year.

A statement issued on Monday of this week by DEFRA stated: "Under the current UK Pet Travel Scheme for long-haul flights, compliant animals have to travel direct to England from qualifying third countries on an approved route, and do so in a container bearing an official seal. If an animal enters any other qualifying country before entering the UK, it is required to re-prepare for PETS, and wait a further six months before entering the UK.

"The (new) EU regulation, which comes into force on July 3, does not include the requirement for sealing (an official container).

"Ministers have looked at the current sealing arrangements in the UK and on Friday introduced an amendment to the legislation to remove the sealing requirements. The legislation is expected to come into force on April 13. A consequence of this legislation is that animals will no longer have to re-prepare if resident in another country before entering the UK.

"DEFRA will be writing to interested industry organisations to inform them of the changes. A PN will be issued in the near future."

Confined

In effect, an animal travelling on a long-haul journey to the UK will not necessarily need to be confined to its container bearing an official seal and, if stopping over in an ‘approved’ (i.e. not rabies endemic) country, will not need to re-prepare for onward journey to the UK with a further six months’ ‘quarantine’, blood test etc.

One happy side-effect of the removal of the sealing requirement is that some pets will now be allowed to travel alongside their owners in the cabin on long-haul flights - if the airline itself permits this.

A DEFRA spokesperson pointed out that if, however, the animal stops off in a country where rabies is endemic and is not approved under the PETS scheme, then it must do so in a container bearing an official seal and may not be removed from the container (or ‘unsealed’) until arriving in the UK. If it did so, then it would be subject to re-preparation for travel under the PETS scheme or subject to six months’ quarantine on arrival in the UK.

The new regulations are most likely to apply to animals on long haul flights from the USA, as well as Australia, New Zealand and approved Pacific Rim countries.