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WE welcome the letter in Veterinary Record from Vic Simpson and Matt Hartley (December 24/31, 2011, vol 169, pp 689–690), which rightly raises the question of health screening in Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) entering the UK. The issue of what health checks have been, are and should be in place raises important questions and considerations, particularly as beaver importation not only to Britain, but across Europe, has been prevalent and is considered a valuable conservation tool employed successfully to save this species from extinction.
The authors rightly state that unless the owners of captive collections act responsibly by submitting samples for ante- and postmortem screening, instances of non-native zoonotic diseases may go undetected. Imported wild mammals from Europe often undergo nothing more than the statutory rabies quarantine. Once in …