Dogs, cats and other household pets have been given much greater rights to travel around Europe after a vote by MEPs in the European Parliament.
Bob labrador DSC 5840 WS

The new arrangements build on the success of 'pet passports' legislation approved a decade ago. They simplify procedures and allow more animals to travel for holidays or to take part in competitions and sporting events.

Pet animals can accompany their owners across borders if they carry a microchip 'passport' with their veterinary records that proves they have been vaccinated against rabies.

The disease is present in some European countries but well-controlled, with human cases of rabies in the EU averaging only one per year.

Local Lib Dem MEP and dog owner Phil Bennion said he voted for the measures.

"This is a good example of a practical EU law that makes life a lot easier for people who travel but are very attached to their pets.

"Quarantine restrictions which were utterly miserable for both animals and their owners have now come to an end for animals with microchip records, as rabies is well controlled.

"I am not planning to take Bob my labrador to Brussels at present - though he does get very put out when he sees me packing at the end of each weekend - but under this rule change, he could come with me for a holiday.

"Liberal Democrats in the EU are trying to make a fairer society for all, including lovelorn pets and their long-suffering owners. We have long pressed for the rules for pet passports to be relaxed.

"This is also another example of the EU creating opportunities and adding value to the experience of people and their pets in a way that no single country could do alone."

ENDS

WS -Phil Bennion Bob labrador DSC 5840c