Britain must stockpile pet food and livestock feed and plan for airlifts ofmedical supplies to protect animals from Brexit chaos next year, leadingcharities will warn on Wednesday.

The end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 could cause shortagesof food for pets and livestock as well as other vital supplies, the 12campaign groups said. Even if there is a trade deal, delays and queues areexpected at key ports such as Dover.

Disruption to medical supplies would not only be “potentially devastating” forindividual animals but make it harder to “control disease outbreaks,” the 12charities told Environment Secretary George Eustice in a letter exclusivelyobtained by the Telegraph.

“We believe central and devolved governments need to make contingency plansfor the stockpiling of veterinary medicines and animal feed,” the charities,who are part of the UK-EU animal welfare taskforce, said.

“Central government should further explore the use of air freight […] tomitigate risks associated with veterinary medicine availability issues,” thetaskforce said, raising the prospect of emergency airlifts of supplies fromthe EU.

Some government estimates for a no deal Brexit estimate queues of up to 7,000lorries stretching into Kent. The animal welfare groups called for dedicatedrest areas for animals along motorways, particularly the M20 in Kent, and atthe ports themselves.

The charities, which included the RSPCA and Animal Defenders International,said that the UK imports two thirds of its animal feed and feed ingredientsfrom the EU. It imports all of its pet food from the EU, they said, or makesit with EU ingredients. They called for a communication campaign for petowners to ensure they had enough food for their animals.

The UK government and the governments of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotlandshould build up reserves of farmed animal feed in case of supply chaindisruption, they said. A minimum of four to 12 week’s supplies of medicinesneeded to be stockpiled, the charities said.

The final scheduled round of Brexit trade negotiations began on Tuesday inBrussels amid cautious optimism that a deal could be struck by the October 15EU Summit, if both sides compromise.

Even if a trade deal is agreed, there will need to be more border checks thannow because the UK will have left the Single Market and Customs Union.

The change will be particularly pronounced in Northern Ireland, which willcontinue to be subject to EU animal health rules after the end of thetransition period.

That is necessary to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland but itmeans that Northern Irish cats, dogs and ferrets will have different petpassports to those on the British mainland.

“Pet passports for cats, dogs and ferrets will be required as standard whencrossing the Irish Sea,” the charities said in their letter before calling forupdated travel advice for owners.

The Telegraph understands that EU officials are in the process of designingthe Northern Irish pet passport. It is expected to be blue and will not haveany reference to the United Kingdom on it.

British cats, dogs and ferrets will have to show a UK pet passport beforetravelling to Northern Ireland.

That will be designed by British officials, if the EU lists the UK as acountry where it is safe for pets to visit from.

Source: James Crisp The Telegraph __

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