Right of Reply: Roger French

The chief executive of the Kennel Club responds to a recent article by Roy Hattersley in which he praised the idea of pet passports
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ROY HATTERSLEY makes some excellent points on behalf of his dog, Buster, about the importance of relaxing our quarantine laws.

The pets and owners most likely to benefit from the introduction of Pet Passports are those who will be returning from a long stay overseas or those coming to take up residence in the UK. Anyone who thinks that taking their pet on holiday on the Continent will suit either their own convenience or their pet's comfort should reconsider in the light of Buster's sensible views.

Rabies is only one of the diseases from which pets and humans in the UK need protection. Rabies can now be controlled by vaccination, but other diseases, like heartworm and leishmaniasis (a range of parasitic illnesses), are not so easily controlled and have effectively been kept out of the country as a result of quarantine measures even if they were not designed to control these diseases.

Many of the recommendations of the Kennedy Report on quarantine and rabies, on which the Government's proposals are said to be based, have now been set aside or greatly altered, and The Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association believe that a further risk analysis should be carried out in order to establish the likelihood of our pets, and people, contracting some other imported disease. The haste with which the changes are being introduced may make this difficult. If the Government plans to accede to the wishes of self-interested parties and heart-tugging tales, then it is up to those of us with a broader perspective to ask for a sensible review.

The Kennel Club speaks for the whole of the dog world - not just a few who currently find themselves hindered by the existing quarantine laws.