The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) has written to the Chair of the Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee over what it sees as the lack of provision in live animal Border Control Posts (BCPs) at seaports in Great Britain.
Chief executive Dominic Whitmee said: “The majority of live ornamental fish arrive in the UK through airports, but for those small businesses which currently bring fish in by road and ferry the appalling lack of BCPs that will accept commercial live animals is extremely concerning.
“When the rules change next year there is just one facility at Sevington – serving Dover and the Eurostar – in the whole of Great Britain which will look at commercial movements of live animals coming by ferry. That’s all animals including farm animals and animals for the pet trade, such as ornamental fish. This will place enormous pressure on Sevington and all other live animal BCPs as people divert their supply routes to them. We believe this will result in massive delays with serious welfare impacts.”
He continued: “We have raised this continually with Defra, and the Government has recently announced a £20 million investment fund for seaports to build BCPs. But this has been offered before without success. This fund is too little, and far too late so our hope is that we can gather more support through raising the issue with the EFRA Committee to question the Defra Secretary of State about this issue.”
The need to address the provision of live animal BCPs at seaports is one of OATA’s key manifesto pledges that it is asking all the main political parties to adopt before the General Election next year. Other pledges include support for pet ownership by rejecting bans on of exotic or wild collected pets through the introduction of positive lists; protecting pet shops’ ability to sell live animals by improving inspections, simplifying bureaucracy and regularising the fees local councils charge; and a requirement for local authority inspectors to be trained in all pet species.