Friday, 22nd October 2010
Sled dog ban is ‘barking mad’
Scotland’s sled-dog racers have been forced to pull out of world championships due to a “barking mad” EU regulation.
Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson said the rule could effectively kill the fledgling sport, which sees teams of dogs pulling a sled over snow or wheeled carts on dry land.
The regulation limits to five per person the total number of dogs, cats or ferrets that can be moved from one EU country to another at any one time.
It has forced the Sled Dog Association of Scotland (SDAS) to cancel travel to Norway for the sport’s world championships next year. The organisation also fears it will have to drop plans to bring the European off-snow championships in 2014 and world championships in 2015 to Scotland.
Mr Stevenson said:
“This regulation is barking mad. Sled dog competitors from Scotland routinely take up to 15 dogs with them when they compete in championships around the EU. By limiting the number to five, Brussels has effectively killed off this sport.
"This is a completely unacceptable infringement of our citizens' freedom to travel with their pet dogs in the pursuit of their sport.
“I have written to the European Commission demanding a derogation that will enable sled dog competitors to continue to travel freely in Europe with as many dogs as they wish."
Sled Dog Association of Scotland (SDAS) chairman Charlie Brecknell said:
“I have just spent a lot of money getting our dogs ready to travel for the world championships in Norway next year and, like other UK mushers, we now will not be able to go.
“The cost implications are now just too great due to this new regulation requiring us to get a commercial licence to travel with the number of dogs.
“Unless this regulation is changed, competitors from Scotland are not going to be travelling to the Continent to represent this country.”
Commission Regulation No. 3388/2010, which came into force on May 26th this year, limits to five per person the total number of dogs, cats or ferrets that can be moved from one EU country to another, or outside the EU, at any one time.