Couple of subjects over the last couple weeks have left me aware that there still remains more than a little ‘confusion’ over TRACES the PETS Scheme, and the DEFRA Certifications for vehicles.
First TRACES, and the ‘rumours’ that they have changed the scheme recently. They haven’t!! TRACES has been the same for years, in fact ever since I first got involved with it in 2001 when we worked with the UK and EU Governments on developing a software application based around the scheme, it hasn’t changed.
What has changed is that because of the ongoing abuse of the system by rescues and vets alike, the authorities have been told to enforce the rules more stringently. Specifically they have been told to ensure that the receiving address has been Validated. Note this is validated, not approved, registered, accredited but simply validated. This means that before the TRACES Certificate can be issued (to say a recipient in the UK) the recipient has to contact the relevant Government Agency (so in the UK the Animal and Plant Health Agency) to inform that they are due to receive an animal under the TRACES Scheme and can they have their address Validated. A simple email to firstname.lastname@example.org is all it takes.
The reason for this is simply to Validate the address exists so that the TRACES Certificate can be issued. This is the address where the animal will be for the first 48 hours after being delivered, and can he a private home. All the stuff flying around about having to be a approved kennel/rescue for the first 48 hours is pure rubbish. A private address has always been acceptable and continues to be acceptable.
They have issued a directive here in Spain to Vets involved in TRACES to ensure this is enforced and TRACES Certificates are not issued to unvalidated addresses, as has been happening. So not change to the rules at all, just a reminder to actual read the rules and adhere to them.
In the above example the recipient in the UK still has to contact APHA and request an Import Certificate which they complete and return 24 hours before the animals scheduled arrival. Again this has ALWAYS been the requirement.
Another rumour regards TRACES is that ‘they’ are considering only allowing a Registered Protectora to register for TRACES. Why they considering this? Again because of the ongoing abuse of the system.
TRACES exists, in it’s simplest form, to trace the movement of the animal from owner to owner, and allow for a prompt and thorough evaluation of the treatment records etc of the animal at each stage of ownership.
In our example above, an animal being transported from Spain to the UK, the TRACES Certificate should show the original owner in Spain i.e. the chip and passport registered to, and the treatment (rabies etc) done by that owner in the region that a) they are registered for TRACES and b) that the animal has been living. The Certificate should also show the new owners details (see above) and of course the Transporter Details.
Really simple reason for this: in the event of a health issue with the animal the relevant owner(s) can be contacted and their records inspected. Unfortunately the use of third parties to ‘do the TRACES’ on behalf of the Owner means this is no longer possible and negates the validity of the TRACES Certificate, as the Certificate shows the animal is being transported from an owner who in fact is not the owner.
Now of course it would help if the authorities would make it easier for rescues etc in Spain to register for TRACES and remove the need for these third parties, but ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ so the authorities are doing the one they can do: concentrating on the abuse they know takes place.
OK, so as far as TRACES is concerned there have been NO changes, just an increased focus on enforcing the scheme as it is intended.
Second PETS Scheme, and the continuing abuse/confusion regards when it can be used. It really is very very simple – when the reason for the transport is a change in circumstance to the owner i.e. holiday, moving home then the PETS Scheme can be used. This means the pet is already registered to the owner DURING A PERIOD THEY CAN PROVE THEY WERE LIVING IN THE COUNTRY THE PET REGISTERED IN, so it is their name, signature and address on the Microchip Registration and in the Pet Passport, and the transport is a registered transporter i.e. has a DEFRA Certificate (unless you are transporting your own Pet you MUST use a DEFRA Certified transporter. Getting a friend to take your pet with them is not allowed under the PETS Scheme), and the transport is taking place within 5 days of your own transport or within 5 days of you giving the Transporter permission (via Declaration of Owner) to transport your pet on your behalf.
When the reason for the transport is (or will be) a change of circumstance (ownership) of the animal then it must travel under TRACES. So a animal that has been adopted (or is going into foster) from a rescue it must go under TRACES, even if the rescue has put your name in the passport, or you fly to collect it etc.
As a transporter all we can do is ask that people confirm the relevant scheme when they book, and we check the required paperwork depending on scheme. It is easy to transport under the wrong scheme, but all you are doing is putting the animals welfare, the new owner and your own rescue at risk. Typically an animal found to be in the UK under wrong scheme has to be returned to the original country immediately, but into quarantine and have new rabies vaccination, or be put to sleep.
And finally, the ongoing debate about being DEFRA Registered or TRACES registered transport is frankly a load of rubbish!!
To transport under the PETS Scheme the vehicle needs a DEFRA Certification and the Driver a Type 2 License. These are mandatory and the only options available.
To transport under the TRACES Scheme the first criteria is compliance with the PETS Scheme, and then the extra TRACES requirements have to be met, but these are for the rescue and new owner to comply to not the transporter.
The requirements on the transporter are exactly the same for the PETS Scheme and TRACES.
Hope that helps!