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Pet Passports to be Issued for Ferrets [07/07/2003]

The European Parliament has voted to allow pet passports to be issued for ferrets so that they, like cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs, can travel freely throughout Europe with their owners.

Legislation creating pet passports, which actually are microchips embedded just underneath the skin of animals that provide proof of vaccination against rabies and other diseases, was enacted by the European Parliament approximately two years ago. Individuals traveling to countries in Europe previously would be required to place their pets in quarantine for as many as six months to ensure that diseases were not spread.

Issuance of passports for ferrets was not authorised because tests that could confirm the animals had been inoculated were not available.

The policy change was prompted by a campaign conducted by Ferret World and the Ferret Trust, an advocacy organization based in Northumberland,, that made the United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Veterinary Laboratory Agency concede the risk of rabies transmission was too insignificant to justify quarantining animals.

"It's great news," said Ferret Trust President Jane Bewlay. "Now ferrets can take part in exhibitions and shows overseas for the first time. It wasn't fair to deny passports to ferrets but give them to cats and dogs."

"The new law...could have profound implications for the future of the breeding stock," said Member of the European Parliament Chris Davies.

2003 Animal News Center, Inc.

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