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24 June 2022
ATISN 16360 – Freedom of Information Request – Ukraine Pets
Thank you for your request which I received on 26 May 2022. You asked for various items of information and documentation regarding the Welsh Government’s policy on the quarantine requirements for pets coming into Wales from Ukraine.
With respect to the minutes and copies of meetings and policy documentation considered when making this decision to uphold rabies quarantine in authorised facilities, these are sensitive documents about the formulation of government policy, which are exempted from sharing under a Freedom of Information request. But I can say that the policy we are applying is a long-standing and well-established policy, which exists to protect public and animal health
You asked for the risk assessment documentation. An updated risk assessment was produced (and is owned) by Defra for the specific situation for pets entering GB from Ukraine with refugees fleeing the warzone. The Welsh Government is not the owner of this information, so I am not at liberty to share it. I would instead refer you to the FOI mechanisms in the UK Government.
You requested the specific wording outlining our concerns. The wording is public and is as follows: Home isolation will not be available in Wales, as the Welsh Government have concerns about how the current home isolation process can be monitored and enforced effectively. Upholding quarantine in authorised facilities is the safest option in Wales to protect both animal and public health.
You asked proof we have to support our concerns and our claim that enforcing home quarantine is not possible in Wales. We can provide you with the detailed requirements that approved quarantine facilities need to comply with in the link below, which takes you to the licence template the Animal and Plant Health Agency issues. The conditions are noted in Schedule 1.
It is also worth noting quarantine facilities require veterinary supervision by an authorised veterinary superintendent.
You requested details of what other options were considered and how and why they were ruled out; however, I cannot provide this information as it is policy sensitive.
You asked for details of the cost to Welsh Government and UK taxpayers per day per animal that is kept in quarantine. Quarantining animals in approved facilities is a commercial enterprise run by private companies. Costs are normally met by the persons responsible for the non-compliant animals they import. In relation to pets of refugees which require quarantine, both the UK Government and the Welsh Government have agreed to pay for costs for quarantine. We do not hold the information for quarantine costs of Ukrainian pets in England or Scotland.
We do not yet have detailed costs to the Welsh Government, as this remains a live situation and constantly evolving.
You asked for statistics around the number of animals who develop rabies:
a) in months 1,2, 3 and 4 after leaving a non-listed country
b) after having passed titre tests, ELISA tests, and both in combination, and
c) in England and Scotland since being released to home isolation in 2022.
We do not hold this information.
Finally, you asked us to furnish you with detailed examples of cases where animals released to home quarantine have been later documented as a contributing factor to a public health outbreak.
We do not hold this information.
The Welsh Government policy seeks to ensure a rabies outbreak outside quarantine never occurs. I can say, however, there was a case of rabies in the UK in 2008, which was contained precisely because it occurred at a quarantine facility.