NI Protocol ‘is risking the health of our dogs through excessive medication’

A Co Tyrone woman is accusing the EU of ‘malice’ in imposing rabies vaccinations for pets travelling to NI from GB, noting the disease is only present in Europe.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 6:30 am
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:06 pm
Christopher Kane from Fivemiletown and his dog Heather. Christopher and his family are very concerned about new EU requirements to worm Heather every time he takes her to competitions in England.
Christopher Kane from Fivemiletown and his dog Heather. Christopher and his family are very concerned about new EU requirements to worm Heather every time he takes her to competitions in England.

Tracy Corbett from Fivemiletown is speaking out about strict EU requirements on taking pets to GB and back as part of the NI Protocol. The EU now requires all such pets to have a passport, be vaccinated against rabies, and be wormed before every journey.

But Tracy and her family are passionate about gundog trials and normally travel to competitions in GB around eight times a year. Her son Christopher is a top international competitor, despite being aged only 13.

Advised by the Countryside Alliance, she says new EU requirements place a serious health risk on their pets.

“This is all malicious overkill by the EU,” she said. “There has been no Rabies in the British Isles for 102 years. It is only a problem in Europe - so why vaccinate our dogs when it is a European problem?

“Worming dogs too often risks their health because their system can become immune to the treatment, and they could die from tapeworm. Normally they are only wormed every three months.”

Christopher added: “They should just have kept it the way it was. I am afraid of all these injections messing up my dog. We don’t even have rabies here - so what is the point of vaccinating our dogs against it?”

The grace period for formal enforcement of rules ends on October 1. However Tracy believes that in the meantime, anyone travelling to GB without a dog passport could still have their pet quarantined.

An EU spokesman responded that pet travel between GB and NI is not prohibited by EU law.

However, as the UK is not part of the EU’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) area, he said, pet travel from GB to NI “must comply with all the necessary [EU] requirements”.

He added: “The intensity of these requirements depends on the degree of convergence between the EU and the UK’s SPS rules and animal health situation.”

If the UK were to agree to a temporary agreement with the EU – which has been repeatedly offered by the EU – these requirements would no longer be needed, he added.

A Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs spokesman noted that Minister Edwin Poots has delayed routine pet travel checks at NI points of entry until at least October 1, to allow further talks with the EU.

Baroness Kate Hoey said the EU is using pet travel restrictions as another way of trying to get the UK to sign up to their rules.

“This will not happen and the only way to meet the EU intransigence is to get rid of the Protocol,” she said. “Edwin Poots was right to delay pet checks but they must never be introduced in the future as there is no animal welfare need for them.”

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