Margaret Greenwood MP has asked a question in Parliament highlighting the cost to those with assistance dogs of travelling to EU countries.
The Wirral West MP was speaking out on behalf of her constituent Stephen Joiner, who is blind and partially deaf, and his assistance dog Jodie.
Stephen has told his MP that he is required to pay £160 for an Animal Health Certificate and vaccines each time he takes Jodie to an EU country. Margaret Greenwood initially contacted the government on his behalf about the matter in March 2021.
The UK is now classed by the EU as a List 2 country after leaving the EU. This means it has to comply with EU requirements for bringing pets from List 2 countries into the EU, which include an Animal Health Certificate, valid for one trip of up to four months to the EU. The UK cannot change what is required, but it is in a position to negotiate with the EU to be granted List 1 country status.
Responding to Margaret Greenwood’s question, government minister Jo Churchill said that the UK government is clear that the UK meets all the requirements to gain Part 1 listed status and that she sees no valid animal health reason for it not to be granted. She also said that there is no change post-Brexit for animals coming from the EU to here and there is no reason why that should not be reciprocal.
She added that the government is continuing to proactively engage with the EU on this matter.
Margaret Greenwood followed up her intervention in Parliament with a letter to the minister calling for further details of the government’s action on this matter and asking for an assessment of how long it will take to reach a positive conclusion.
Margaret Greenwood MP said, “I was pleased to be able to raise this matter in Parliament.
“It is a very important issue for people with assistance dogs who want to travel abroad to the EU.
“It is disappointing that there seems to have been no progress in the 15 months since I first raised this issue with ministers. While the government does not set the requirements, it is in a position to negotiate on behalf of assistance dog owners. It really does need to do all it can to sort this out.
“It is very unfair that people with assistance dogs are having to pay these sums to travel to the EU.
“Disabled people face all sorts of barriers in their day-to-day lives. The government must make every effort to resolve this issue.”
Image: Stephen Joiner and his assistance dog Jodie by the statue to commemorate the foundation of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association at The Cliff, New Brighton, in 1931