Brexit: Pet Travel & Trade Transition

7 October 2019

The Government is continuing to make preparations for the UK’s departure from the EU and have begun their ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign which includes DEFRA updates on preparations that relate to veterinary businesses and their clients. This will help ensure you and your clients can prepare and be ready to for the 31st of October when the UK is expected to leave the EU. To help keep our members informed, we have outlined key information below.

Getting ready for the new export and import processes

Preparations applicable to the export of live animals and other consignments such as germplasm and animal by-products will likely impact Official Veterinarians (OVs). Detailed information can be found here.

The UK Chief Veterinary Officer has recently issued a letter to all veterinary practices reminding OVs of the changes to pet travel come 31st October when the UK plans to leave the EU with or without a deal. If you haven’t received the letter contact the Defra Stakeholders Team

DEFRA is asking veterinary practices to make relevant clients aware of the changes and any required preparations for pet travel. Further information on pet travel for vets can be found here, and for pet owners here. Posters for use in veterinary practices have been prepared by Defra that sign-post and outline the key changes for vets & also for owners. If you would like to send updates to clients, template letters are available. Both posters and template letters can be accessed here on the Vet Gateway within the OV instructions section.

Information for OVs is also available on APHA’s Vet Gateway in the ‘Pet Travel Scheme’ section and can be accessed here.

For importers, if the UK leaves without a deal you will no longer be able to use TRACES and will instead need to be ready to use the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS). More information on IPAFFS can be found here. and for IPAFFS registration here. If you have any issues, contact the APHA Service Desk on 03300 416 999 or email

The Government has set up a dedicated telephone service for traders and hauliers trading goods with the EU after 31 October 2019 to provide guidance on preparing for Brexit. The number to call is 0300 3301 331, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. HMRC have also issued a ‘myth buster’ leaflet on EORI numbers which can be found here.

Employing EU citizens

For veterinary practices who might employ EU citizens after the 31st October, further information can be found here.

Keeping up to date

The Government is working hard to ensure you can get ready for Brexit through regular updates. We aim to make our members aware of these updates as and when they are received however, there are many ways to find out what you need to do to be ready, including:

  • Brexit Business Readiness Roadshows: The Government is running a number of free roadshows across the UK to help businesses prepare for Brexit. Advisors from various Government departments will be on hand to answer questions. More information on the events can be found here.
  • E-alerts: you can subscribe to receive DEFRA updates via email here.

Defra’s recommended actions for your clients

Defra is making your clients aware that they may need to take certain actions to be prepared for 31st October. As a result there may be a spike of enquiries received by veterinary practices from clients relating to the following:

  • If a client exports animals or animal products and they haven’t already identified an OV to sign off their Export Health Certificate (EHC), they are being advised to do so as soon as possible by accessing information on EHC’s and on businesses which can provide OV’s who can supply EHC services in England, Scotland and Wales which they can find here. Details of OV’s in Northern Ireland can be obtained from DEFRA.
  • Clients are also being advised that they need to check their proposed point of entry into the EU has a Border Inspection Post (BIP) so as to accept their consignment. They can find a current list of EU BIPs here.

Previous BSAVA updates

Previous BSAVA updates on Brexit preparations can be accessed here