HC Deb 13 April 1999 vol 329 cc219-20W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress he has made in enabling blind ex-servicemen to be accompanied on visits to France by their guide dogs without those dogs having to be held in quarantine on their return to the UK. [79042]

Mr. Rooker

Guide dogs, like all domestic dogs are currently subject to six months quarantine. On 26 March 1999,Official Report, columns 649–50, my right hon. Friend the Minister announced to the House that, in the light of the Kennedy Group's analysis, it is desirable to move as quickly as possible to a system under which dogs and cats coming from European Union and certain other European countries and rabies-free islands could enter the UK without quarantine. Our objective is to bring the new arrangements into operation throughout the United Kingdom by April 2001. We also plan to launch a pilot scheme—or pilot schemes—within the next twelve months. As soon as the specific arrangements for these schemes have been established, these will be reported to the House.

Mr. Wigley

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make an immediate derogation from the quarantine regulations to enable Mr. T. J. Ireland, Ty Croes, Garwdol Benmaen, Gwynedd to attend the commemoration of the Normandy Landings with his guide dog, without the dog having to be held in quarantine on his return. [79043]

Mr. Nick Brown

I have a great deal of sympathy for Mr. Ireland. If his dog met the requirements of the new arrangements I announced on 26 March, it could be exempted from quarantine when those new arrangements are in effect. However, I cannot agree to an exemption now for the reasons set out in my letter to the right hon. Member of 1 April.