EU agrees on joint rabies-free certificate


The EU agreed yesterday on a common travel document certifying that cats and dogs are free of rabies, plus a tagging system to back it up, the European Commission and the Spanish EU presidency said.

The new system, which will have to be approved by the European Parliament, is expected to greatly facilitate the movement of pets throughout the EU, even though Ireland, Britain and Sweden will continue to apply special provisions.

Under the system, all vaccinated animals will be tagged with a small computer chip or a tattoo, making them eligible for the EU-wide travel document.

For cats and dogs from rabies-free countries outside the EU, proof of vaccination will be the only condition for entering an EU state, with the exception of Britain.

Pets from non-EU countries where rabies has not been eradicated will be required to take a test three months before travelling to the EU.

However, Ireland, Britain and Sweden will maintain their own rules, subjecting immunised animals from other EU states to an antibody test before they let them in.

Pets from rabies-free non-EU countries will have to be tested six months prior to travel.

The three countries will maintain quarantine rules for animals coming from non-EU countries where rabies is endemic.