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The pet-owners guide to the galaxy
or ‘What's involved in moving pets overseas’

Those considering emigration to the likes of Australia, USA or South Africa might find it easier moving to the Moon depending on the type of mammal, bird, fish or insect they own!

The Fresh Start Show at ExCeL (13-15 May), with the help of one of the exhibitors Par Air Livestock Shipping Services, has produced a pet emigration guide to the most popular destinations in the World. Better weather, more money and an exotic lifestyle are the main reasons why 191,000 Britons left the country last year, but many don't realise they can emigrate with their pets as well.

Australia: Travel time: 22-24 hours. Animals like dogs and cats will require blood tests 30 days before shipment and documentation of certain vaccinations between a year and 14-days before travel. Treatment for ticks and tapeworm will also be required depending on the animal. Animals you can take: Dogs, cats, horses: Animals you can't take: Snout-nosed breeds (e.g. Bulldogs), rabbits, birds, mammals and reptiles.

South Africa: Travel time: 10-14 hours. An Import Permit is required from the Director of Veterinary Services prior to shipment. No quarantine on arrival, but dogs must pass a blood test for Leishmania. A rabies vaccination given within one year and 30-days of travel, plus a DEFRA health certificate within 10-days of shipment. Animals you can take: dogs, cats, birds and some reptiles Animals you can't take: certain mammals and CITES reptiles

USA: Travel time: 8-13 hours. An export health certificate issued by a vet is required within 7 days of shipment and it is advised to vaccinate against rabies. Some animals, like parrots, will be quarantined on arrival for 35-days at New York, Miami or Los Angeles. DEFRA, CITES and US Government documentation is also needed. Animals you can take: dogs, cats, birds, horses and certain reptiles; Animals you can't take: turtles and monkeys

Europe: A European Pet Passport which contains details of the animal including vaccinations and microchips should get your pet in Europe, but getting them back to Britain might be more difficult as animals can only enter the UK at approved airports and docks on transport approved by DEFRA. Animals you can take: dogs, cats, birds and most household pets; Animals you can't take: Farm animals require separate documentation

Mike Parish, managing director of Par Air, said: "Documentation for your pet can be very complex and not all airlines are equipped to carry livestock, that's why there are now a number of specialist pet shipping companies that can help. Pet owners should look for agents who are members of the IAPTA or AATA to make sure their pets are looked after correctly."

Nick Clark, Managing Director of Homebuyer Events who run the Fresh Start Show, said:
"Research is the key to making the dream of emigration a reality. Pet owners must be especially vigilant and consider the various laws on importing breeds of animal no matter how great or small."

The Fresh Start Show will be held from 13 to 15 May 2005 at the ExCel Centre in Docklands, London. The show will provide expert information and advice for everyone who is serious about living, working, investing and setting up a business abroad. Tickets cost £7.50 and are available in advance by logging on to www.freshstartshow.co.uk