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Where does Brexit leave our cats?

What will be the impact of traveling abroad with our cats?

With the ongoing Brexit discussion and debate around trade and borders dominating our news agenda daily, Just Cats, is asking where does Brexit leave our beloved cats?

Currently in Ireland, EU pet passports are issued by private vets to the pet owner. The EU pet passport allows pets to travel seamlessly between all EU countries once they have fulfilled reset criteria. Up to now, Irish pets have enjoyed full and easy access to all EU countries, including the UK and likewise, the UK have enjoyed the same access here.

Just Cats is calling for clarity on what the post-Brexit landscape means for the millions of Irish people living with pets (61% of all house-hold owners*).

This week, the news was delivered by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that Ireland will need to hire approximately 1,000 new customs and veterinary inspectors to deal with the aftermath of Brexit. Stricter rules and restrictions surrounding imports and exports to and from the UK are set to be enforced, but the uncertainty of what is yet to come is proving to be a serious concern for veterinary practices. Roberta D'Antone, veterinary surgeon at Just Cats has said, “We are extremely concerned that there is no clarification regarding the post Brexit scenario and how the travel of pets between both countries will be affected. We feel it is being overlooked, tourism in Ireland has benefited hugely from UK citizens traveling here with their pets, and that this sector of the economy is now in jeopardy as a direct result. With the large Irish diaspora in the UK and Irish citizens traveling to the UK with their pets, clarity is needed for this to continue or a contingency plan needs to be put in place to allow for safe and legal travel with pets between both countries.”

The reason for the EU pet passport scheme is to reduce (and eliminate) the transfer of disease from country to country via pets. The main disease concern here would be Rabies, a disease which is a threat to humans along with pets. Just Cats has highlighted the lack of discussion on the topic in Brexit talks to date.

Speaking on the subject, Roberta D'Antone stated “The UK government need to outline what post Brexit measures are being put in place to manage this disease control, especially with the porous border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. While people will need to stop at border checkpoints in the event of a hard brexit, animals will not be as amenable.”

“This also does not take in to account the threat to the agricultural sector and trans-border disease prevention. With the agricultural export economy worth €4.8billion, lack of clarity in this area put jobs and potentially lives on the line. We call on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Michael Creed to make a statement on this important issue and how our disease-free status will be maintained, while allowing the unimpeded movement of animals over the border and to the UK.” - Roberta D'Antone , veterinary surgeon at Just Cats.

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