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Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Ninth Report


Memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


  1. The Committee asked—

    Article 9(1) refers to "all three certificates" required by the Order. Two are required by article 7(1). Identify the third certificate and the certificates indicated by "all health certificates" in article 10(3).

  2. Article 7 requires a person importing a pet animal under the scheme to have three separate documents. These are a certificate concerning rabies, issued by an official veterinary surgeon of the issuing country; a certificate concerning ticks and tapeworm, signed by a veterinary surgeon entitled to practice medicine in the country in which the treatment for ticks and tapeworm was administered; and a declaration by the importer that the animal has not been outside the permitted countries and territories in the six months preceding the importation. These are the "three certificates" referred to in article 9(1) of the Order. The first two certify that vaccination and treatment have taken place, and the third, although described in article 7 as a declaration, is in effect a certificate that the animal has not been outside the permitted territories. The Ministry therefore submits that the reference in article 9 is accurate.

  3. In article 10(3) the Order refers to "all health certificates". This is intended to cover all three certificates, and the Ministry accepts that the wording used is unfortunate. It is based on the premise that the certificates concerning rabies, ticks and tapeworm are "official health certificates" (which is how they are described in article 7(2)) and that the declaration on residency is also a health certificate, in that it relates to, and is central to assessing, the health status of the animal.

  4. The reason for requiring the third certificate (and the reason that the Ministry considers it to be a health certificate) is that the health status of an animal which has not been outside the permitted countries (which are relatively free of rabies) is higher than the health status of an animal which has been outside these countries, where there is a greater likelihood that the animal would have come into contact with an animal infected with rabies. As all three certificates are essentially concerned with the health status of the animal, the phrase "all health certificates required under this Order" was used. However, the Ministry accepts that it is possible to argue that the phrase refers only to the certificates on rabies, ticks and tapeworm, which is not the case.

  5. The Ministry submits that the phrase is not inaccurate, but accepts that it is possible for it to be misconstrued. Accordingly the Ministry will use a different way of describing the certificates if, at the end of the pilot scheme, it is decided to adopt a similar certification system for the main scheme. Otherwise, the Ministry will amend the phrase if the opportunity arises.

28 January 2000

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