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BVA
Pet travel: absolute harmonisation ‘not a scientifically sound position’

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A WARNING that removing a requirement for travelling pets entering the UK to be treated for tapeworms could lead to the introduction of a fatal zoonotic disease was given by the BVA President, Harvey Locke, in his speech to the Association's annual Scottish dinner in Edinburgh last week.

Mr Locke said that, in an ideal world, there would be uniformity of regulations throughout the EU and unhindered movement of citizens and trade. But in the case of the zoonotic tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, infection with which could prove fatal in humans, prevention was better than cure.

The UK's derogation from European pet travel rules is due to end on December 31 this year, and Mr Locke commented that a decision on whether to allow the UK and Ireland to maintain their additional controls on tapeworms is ‘in danger of becoming a political football for those groups in Europe concerned with the technicalities of the new legislative regime under the Lisbon Treaty’.

‘When it comes to disease control, surely it is sensible to do what we can to prevent spread of disease between regions and member states rather than waiting until it has spread and then attempting to eliminate it,’ he said. ‘Absolute harmonisation in certain circumstances such as this, where we have a fatal zoonotic disease that will become endemic and impossible to eradicate, is not a scientifically sound position to take; any true European will recognise that free and unhindered movement of our citizens throughout the Union does not have to equate to unfettered movement of fatal diseases.’

Trying to control the …

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