Alyn Applauds Sensible Tapeworm Steps

15 July 2011
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today (Friday) welcomed the European Commission decision that will allow the continuation of pre-movement treatment for tapeworm for dogs travelling to Scotland and so maintain our tapeworm-free status.
The Commission decision comes in the wake of advice given by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that the risk of the introduction of Echinococcus Multilocularis (a tapeworm) into parasite-free areas through the movement of infected dogs is greater than negligible. That risk, EFSA concluded, could be mitigated if dogs from endemic areas were treated prior to entry into Echinococcus-free areas. A dog infected with Echinococcus Multilocularis may serve as a source of infection for humans and a source of contamination of the environment.

The new regulation will ensure that a dog must be treated by a veterinary surgeon 1 to 5 days before entering Scotland. Details of the treatment will be recorded in the pet's passport, and the dog owner will have to carry out the planned journey with his or her pet within a period from 24 hours to 120 hours after the treatment.

Alyn said:

"Nations have a fundamental right to control their own borders to prevent the transmission of diseases through animals. When our geographic situation is what it is then it would be folly not to use it to its advantage.

"Our current system of pet passports and compulsory worming is strict but sound, so to reduce these standards for the cause of EU harmonisation is flat wrong, particularly when it comes to a lethal disease like Alveolar Echinococcosis.

"Only when the rest of the EU has managed to reach a position where tapeworm risk is negligible should we reassess the additional measures in place. Until that time then it is only right that we continue to protect our people and their pets."

The European Commission press release is available here