Letter: Man's best friend

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Sir: Canis is a voluntary organisation dedicated solely to the training and deployment of search dogs in disaster situations. Recently we sent two of our dog teams to Turkey in response to a request for assistance in locating casualties of the earthquake. Our dogs are now starting six months in quarantine.

For several years those of our handlers who are willing to send their dogs overseas have had them vaccinated against rabies. The law on quarantine is on the brink of being changed. We understand that the pet passport scheme will apply to the free movement of pets between a limited number of countries, but do not understand the reason for the limitation ("Passports for pets plan faces `chaos' ", 4 August).

A Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food spokesperson has been quoted as pointing out that rabies is endemic in Turkey and that Turkey will not be among the countries covered by the new laws.

Firstly, we do not understand how the incidence of rabies in Turkey has an impact upon the efficacy of the vaccination to combat the disease. Secondly, if a vaccination regime is good enough to protect the British public from, say, French rabies, why would it not be good enough to provide the same protection from Turkish rabies?


Chairman, CANIS

Windermere, Cumbria