Fido to get an EU passport

Cats, dogs and ferrets going on holiday with their owners in the European Union are to be given tattoos, microchips and EU passports, according to the European Commission (EC).

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    From next July, pets moving between any EU state must carry an electronic microchip for easy identification, or a tattoo, and be vaccinated against rabies, EC officials said on Thursday.

    The EU pet passport - with a blue cover and yellow stars of the European emblem - will carry proof of vaccination and an optional photo.

    "The advantage is not having to enquire about the regulations in other countries, so there is a kind of internal market in travelling for pets," Commission spokeswoman Beate Gminder told a news conference.

    Many holidaymakers now leave their pets at home because national rules vary across the EU making travelling with animals too complicated.

    "This is a significant step for the free movement of people and their pets, and a step that was made possible by dramatic advances made in our fight against rabies," said David Byrne,
    commissioner for health.

    Because they are rabies-free, Sweden, Ireland and Britain will have extra controls on pet movements until 2008.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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