Brexit Irish border issues may affect pet travel, says British Veterinary Association president

Brexit Irish border issues may affect pet travel, says British Veterinary Association president

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Irish border may not just prove a headache for policymakers and traders in the event of a no-deal Brexit - pet owners may feel the difference too.

The president of the British Veterinary Association Simon Doherty told Eamonn Holmes that there may be extra “hoops to jump through” for people wanting to travel from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland with their pets, and vice versa.

“It’s raising an interesting question we’ve never had to deal with before,” he said.

“The authorities have taken a pragmatic, risk-based approach to animals moving.

“There’ll be a lot of people from Belfast who go up to Donegal at the weekend - technically they’re supposed to have a pet passport, but there is fairly free movement on the island of Ireland.

“But come March, you may have to jump through all these extra hoops to take your dog to Donegal.”


'We'll have to play by the rules'

A dog at an airport. Image: Getty

He also said that, if a deal was not reached, pet owners may need to start planning immediately if they wanted to take animals abroad from March 2019.

“If we arrive at the end of March next year and have a no-deal situation, we’ll have to play by the rules as they are at that point,” said Mr Doherty.

“But, the problem is, if we have a no deal situation, the timelines for pet animal movements for a cat, a dog or a ferret is retrospective back over four months.

“If you were wanting to take your cat, dog or ferret to France or whatever, as of March next year, you’d need a veterinary certificate completed, a blood test before that, and a rabies vaccination one month before that.”


'Not close' to agreement

Ministers are aiming for a deal to be reached by the end of November, according to the BBC.

The Irish border is still proving to be an issue, with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier telling Belgian broadcaster RTBF: "For now, we are still negotiating and I am not, as I am speaking to you this morning, able to tell you that we are close to reaching an agreement.

"There is still a real point of divergence on the way of guaranteeing peace in Ireland, that there are no borders in Ireland, while protecting the integrity of the single market."

Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have discussed the Irish border issue, with Mr Varadkar saying he would not agree to a backstop arrangement that left the UK with unilateral powers to end it.