LETTER:Canine xenophobia

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The Independent Online
From Mr Ian Furnivall

Sir: Congratulations on your excellent article on the iniquities of the British anti-rabies quarantine regulations ("Do we love pets? Not nearly enough," 17 March). Brits who would travel abroad with their dogs are not, of course, the only sufferers from this absurd and antiquated law. British canine xenophobia prevents many thousands of French, German, Dutch and other European families from holidaying in the UK with their pets. There are around 60,000 British citizens resident in France alone, many of them, like myself, pet-owners.

We can legally take home to England our wives, our children, any amount of EU-purchased agricultural produce, raw meat, soil, in fact just about anything that carries germs, provided that it originated in the EU. So why can I not legally go home with my perfectly healthy labrador, injected at birth against rabies, tattooed with her doggy registration number, and about as likely to infect anyone with rabies as the Queen Mother's corgi is to have a whelp of wolves?

While this ridiculous law exists, many British dog-owning families homeward bound will continue to resort to the time-honoured tradition of popping into one of the many understanding vets in Calais, procuring a sleep-inducing injection for the pooch, and waking up a very confused dog concealed in the boot of the car some two hours later in the safety of Kent. Might it not be better to encourage visiting dogs out of the closet or the car boot, and into a more orderly and properly controlled system of vaccination enforcement?

Yours faithfully,

IAN FURNIVALL

Croissy a Seine,

France

20 March

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