x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

A pet reprieve

The UK's decision to end the mandatory six-month quarantine for pets being taken into that country is good news for humans and animals alike.

The kindly people at Feline Friends, the Dubai-based charity aimed at helping the UAE's cats, said this week that they were delighted to learn that the United Kingdom has changed its policy on pet quarantine.

There is not, to our knowledge, a charitable group which concerns itself with the welfare of human beings moving from here to the UK; if there were it, too, would surely be pleased.

The requirement of a six-month quarantine for pets entering the UK, a long-standing protection against rabies, has been lifted because an anti-rabies vaccine has now rendered quarantine obsolete.

Owners will be spared the considerable expense - and the emotional burden - adhering to quarantine rules, which can mean leaving Fluffy or Fido to languish in a cage somewhere for half a year.

Good though this is for owners and their animals, the policy change may prove to be a bigger boon to those animals which are now - shockingly - abandoned to run wild or starve when expatriate or other owners leave the UAE. Few animals do well in handling the transition from pampered to abandoned; more now will be brought along instead of left.

Pets bring well-documented psychological benefits to their owners. Anything that makes it easier to maintain this kind of relationship is a good thing for animals and humans alike.