Written answers

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Animal Welfare

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Renua Ireland)
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77. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the changes he has made to regulations on the export of puppies and dogs; if the extended time frame required for inoculating the animals will have a very damaging impact on the industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45484/15]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Minister, Department of Agriculture, the Marine and Food; Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The most recent changes relating to the export of dogs were introduced as a result of new EU Regulations on intra-community trade in dogs which came into effect on 29 December 2014. Under these regulations, dogs must be at least 12 weeks old in order to be vaccinated against rabies and a waiting period of 21 days post (primary) vaccination is necessary for rabies immunity to take effect. Accordingly dogs may not be under 15 weeks of age at time of export.

The Regulations allow Member States the option of allowing the importation into their territories of dogs, which are less than 12 weeks old and have not received an anti-rabies vaccination or are between 12 and 16 weeks old and have received an anti-rabies vaccination, but 21 days have not elapsed since the completion of the vaccination. The following member states - Austria, Bulgaria Czech Rep., Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia - and Switzerland have notified the Commission that they are prepared to accept young pups. The remaining Member States including the United Kingdom do not accept young dogs. Almost all of the 250 dogs that are on average exported from Ireland each week are destined for the United Kingdom.

The Deputy may be aware that immunity from rabies is one of a number of requirements for export of dogs. Other requirements are that dogs must:

- come from holdings or businesses which are registered by the competent authority and are not subject to any ban on animal health grounds (including rabies), and which undertake to have these animals regularly examined, to notify possible disease and to comply with the requirements ensuring the welfare of the animals held;

- be identified by means of a microchip (a transponder readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785);

- undergo (within 48 hours prior to the time of dispatch) a clinical examination carried out by an authorised veterinarian, who must verify that the animals show no signs of diseases and are fit to be transported for the intended journey;

- be individually accompanied by a passport completed and issued by an authorised veterinarian;

- be accompanied to the place of destination by a health certificate (model in Part 1 of Annex E to Directive 92/65/EEC as last amended by), issued by an official veterinarian of the Member State of dispatch.

The new EU regulations, which are in place almost 12 months, are designed to facilitate the movement of pets throughout the EU. I am satisfied that they will not have a negative impact on the export of dogs.

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