There are probably about 8 million dogs in the country, of which a large, but unknown proportion are uncontrolled - strays, or turned out daily to fend for themselves while their owners are at work. With the introduction of rabies, they would be available, if unvaccinated, as vectors for its further spread.
Abolition of quarantine should be preceded by vaccination against rabies of all British dogs. This will require a registration scheme detailing the whereabouts of dogs and their owners, and a rogue-proof system of animal identification. It would thus be possible to require animals to be presented for vaccination and regular revaccination.
The Government has so far refused to consider registration, but schemes that work are not impossible. Other countries have them. If an adequate fee is charged, a system of dog-registration could be self-financing - even with rebates for blind persons and poor pensioners. It is not unreasonable to require owners to meet the costs. This may not be regarded kindly by pet-owning voters, but could be a useful way to reduce the number of dogs in the country to those which are really wanted.
Professor COLIN KAPLAN FRCPath
Reading, BerkshireReuse content