Wednesday, March 03, 2010

10th Anniversary of Britain's Pet Passport Scheme

I found this today on the 10th anniversary of Britain's pet travel scheme. In a nutshell, it makes it possible to bring your pets to Great Britain without having to put them through quarantine.

This is a big deal for me personally. I would never bid on a country that would force pets to go through the kind of quarantine once required in Great Britain. It was hard enough coming home from Jerusalem. When I bid on Jerusalem, there were no quarantines coming or going. But bird flu struck in Gaza while we were there, and although my parrot never left Jerusalem and so was not exposed, she was subjected to quarantine on our return to the U.S.

It was a nerve-wracking experience...not for my bird, but definitely for me! For a month I worried, fretted, called in to check on her, asked if she was happy, playing with the toys I sent, eating the food and treats I left. It was torture.

In the end, I have nothing but praise for our quarantine center in NY. It is staffed by caring professionals who love birds. My baby did just fine. But it is something I want to avoid if possible and something I never want to put her through in a place where the facilities are not regulated (as was the case in Britain).

Along with this piece, you should check out their site, as well as their blog. I have added links under Other Interesting Links. I think there will be some useful information there for those of us who serve with our fur and feathered children.

Pet Travel Scheme - 10th Anniversary

Today (March 2) is the 10th anniversary of the Pet Travel Scheme which was originally championed by Lady Mary Fretwell. For more than 100 years prior to the approval of the Pet Travel Scheme, the United Kingdom had a strictly enforced quarantine program in effect. Bring in a dog, cat, guinea pig or rabbit, and they had to spend six months in one of 80 quarantine kennels in Great Britain, with virtually no exercise and with only the kennels’ contracted veterinarians to check them out. There were no uniform statutes governing these kennels–the kennel owners voluntarily agreed to provide respectable care, but this often was lacking.

“My husband was in the Foreign Service, so this meant that each time we returned to England from a post our basset hound had to go through that awful quarantine,” says Lady Mary Fretwell. “Over the years, we could see how the quarantine conditions got worse and worse.”

The final straw came in 1987, when Lady Mary and Sir John Fretwell returned to England from their final post in Paris. “We came back with our basset hound,” Lady Fretwell says, “and it was a terrible quarantine experience. Our beloved Bertie, our favorite of all the bassets we’ve had over the years, was a different dog after this horrible experience, and died soon afterwards. This pushed us into doing something about the quarantine situation in the UK.”

The result was an organization called “Passports for Pets,” and because of the untiring efforts by the Fretwells and 10,000 members and many volunteers who pushed for changes in the pet entry system, there is now in place a specific method of bringing cats and dogs into the UK without going through quarantine.

A happy note is that over 10,000 pets have been brought into the UK without any incident of rabies since the inception of the program. The Pet Travel Scheme was certainly a victory for pets traveling to the UK!

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