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AS announced by Defra on June 30, the UK is to harmonise its pet movement rules with those of other member states of the European Union (EU). As a result, dogs, cats and ferrets entering the country from EU member states and listed non-EU countries will no longer require a blood test to confirm seroconversion following rabies vaccination (Gibbens and Locke 2011). Pets being imported from unlisted ‘third countries’ will no longer have to enter six months' quarantine in the UK, but once vaccinated, blood tested a month later, and following a further three-month wait in the country of origin, they may enter the UK with the appropriate certification. The whole procedure therefore takes four months from the time of vaccination. Quarantine in the UK may still be an option for those pet animals that cannot comply with these requirements but will be reduced in line with the new measures, to up to four months after vaccination.
As with any major policy change where there may be an impact on animal or public health, Defra uses all available scientific evidence to advise policy changes. In the case of rabies, …