Pet passport agreement will help keep Ireland rabies free Childers tells Parliament
Posted on March 09, 2010
Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg last night, Nessa Childers MEP told members that an agreement on a new ‘pet passports’ system would help keep countries such as Ireland rabies-free.
The Labour MEP said: “The case of a 38 year old woman who died in Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast last year was a timely reminder of the ongoing threat posed by rabies to Ireland.
“It is believed that she contracted the disease while trying to break up a fight between two dogs while on a working holiday to South Africa. More recently four people had to receive preventative injections in Dublin after an illegally imported kitten bit them.
“Rabies is one of the oldest zoonotic diseases which affects humans and is invariably fatal once symptoms have occurred. While we are lucky in Ireland not to have had an indigenous case of rabies since 1903, global travel patterns mean that the disease is never far from our door.
“It is for this reason that Ireland practices strict quarantines of imported animals, and it is only because of these stringent measures that we are able to maintain our status as rabies-free.
“In order to continue this record it is crucial that the transitional agreement, which this proposal would extend until the end of next year, is not allowed to lapse in July 2010.
“The additional safeguards contained in the proposed report are also crucial to both human and animal health, as they will help the fight not just against rabies but also against specific ticks and tapeworms from which Ireland is currently free.
“By accepting this proposal, Mr. President, this house would facilitate the fight against rabies not only in Ireland, but would also provide a base for its eradication across Europe. For these reasons the urgency of this matter must not go understated.”