Brexit: Checks on pets travelling from GB to NI delayed

  • Published
Related Topics
dog with passport
Image caption,
Pet owners have said the requirements would mean giving animals unnecessary injections against conditions which do not exist in either GB or Ireland

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced a delay to the introduction of Brexit checks on pets travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

They had been due to begin in July, but that has now been unilaterally extended until at least October.

Under the new rules, for travel across the Irish Sea, animals would have needed a microchip, a rabies vaccine, an EU pet passport or Animal Health Certificate, and a tapeworm treatment for dogs.

The changes were meant to take effect from January 2021.

They had been deferred until July to let pet owners prepare.

'Unnecessary' injections

Mr Poots has now announced a further extension as talks between the UK and EU across a range of Northern Ireland Protocol issues, including pet travel, continue.

"Pet owners have had little time to prepare to meet the new conditions for pet travel, which have come as a result of the agreement reached between the UK and EU," he said.

"This delay will also allow time for my department to further scope the potential requirements for the introduction of checks and to educate the public further," he added.

Image source, Getty/Stuart Vine

Pet owners had complained that the requirement for vaccines meant them giving animals unnecessary injections against conditions which did not exist in either GB or Ireland.

Last case of rabies 1922

Mr Poots said his officials were now looking at ways to make pet travel between Britain and Northern Ireland easier.

"I have written to the EU on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland, highlighting that these requirements for pet travel are not necessary," he said.

"Given that the last case of rabies on these islands was in 1922, these are unnecessary medical interventions. This issue is yet another example of why the Northern Ireland Protocol is not fit for purpose."