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Assistance Animals: Travel

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 186197, tabled on 23 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps is he taking to remove the internal border for assistance dog owners between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Answered on

28 April 2021

The UK has been formally ‘listed’ as a ‘Part 2’ third country for the purposes of the EU pet travel regulations, which means that new rules apply to pet movements from Great Britain to the EU and also – under the Northern Ireland Protocol – to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland. The health and documentary requirements for such pet travel are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations; there are no derogations for assistance dogs under these regulations.

We will continue to press the European Commission on securing Part 1 listed status and in regaining recognition of our freedom from the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis, as achieving these would alleviate some of these new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users. We meet all the animal health requirements for this, and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

The Government is engaging with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to explore means to streamline pet travel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, recognising the high standards of animal health that we share. Current guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on DAERA’s NIDirect website. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has also written to the European Vice-President seeking to ensure that an agreement can be made to address the barriers imposed on pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

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