The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) is currently considering whether or not to change the quarantine rules for imported dogs and cats, RÚV reports. A recent risk assessment survey conducted on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture has concluded that dogs and cats imported from Northern Europe and the UK, where most animals imported to Iceland come from, needn’t be quarantined at all. Disease control in these places is considered sufficient to make the risk of contamination negligible. The assessment also found that animals from other countries could safely be quarantined for two weeks, instead of the currently required four.
Former Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir commissioned Denmark’s former Chief Veterinarian to conduct the risk assessment, which has been two years in the making.
Per the interpretation of Herdís Hallmarsdóttir, the chair of the Icelandic Kennel Club, the assessment proves that the current quarantine rules for all dogs and cats imported to the country is “outdated.” She says that “…the results confirm what we have been saying for a long time—that there is no objective or scientific basis that justifies a four-week isolation period for dogs.”
At the very least, Herdís says, the results of the assessment should lead to new flexibility for animals coming from Northern Europe and the UK. “I would like to see different rules depending on where the animals are coming from,” she said.
Current Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Kristján Þór Júlíusson says that no decision will be made on changing the quarantine period for cats and dogs until MAST and the Icelandic Kennel Club both comment on the risk assessment. MAST would also need to determine how exactly the rules would be changed. This is not expected to be done before May, at the earliest.