24 February 2000
Quarantine backup if pet chips fail

PETS will have to go into quarantine for six months if identity microchips fail when they enter Britain under the news pets passport scheme.

Under pilot scheme rules, cats and dogs entering Britain must be vaccinated against rabies and parasites and fitted with unique identification number.

But when one of the first dogs preparing to travel was scanned, the microchip could not be located, despite X-rays showing it was still in place

Ministry of Agriculture officials insisted that the dog be fitted with another chip, revaccinated and given another blood test.

MAFF said if the failure had gone unnoticed or happened after the dog left Britain, it would have to be put in quarantine when it failed a scanner check on re-entry.

There are fears that relaxing quarantine legislation could allow rabies to enter the country and infect livestock and wild animals.

The pilot scheme is due to begin on Monday (28 February).