Today ( Sunday) a group of peaceful pet enthusiasts, calling themselves “Get Pets To Paris”, will be meeting outside St Pancras station as part of a campaign to encourage Eurostar to become more dog friendly.
Considering that 27% of British households own a dog and over 70% of them want to holiday with their dog, it might make business sense for Eurostar to re-think its no dog policy?
We invited them onto our radio show but they declined an interview and instead sent us a statement.
“Eurostar welcomes registered guide or assistance dogs on board, providing they come with the necessary documents required by DEFRA for them to leave or enter the country. Passengers wishing to book travel for their guide or assistance dog can find full details on how to do this within the travel information section of our website.
Pets are not currently accepted for travel on Eurostar and, at this time our trains are not equipped to safely transport them. In addition, the city centre terminals which we travel to and from do not have the facilities needed to ensure the safe and secure transit of pets between international borders, in accordance with DEFRA’s pet travel scheme.
We always monitor customer feedback, and our latest research shows that, in fact, the vast majority of our passengers would not be in favour of pets travelling on board our trains.
Travellers wishing to take their pets can find a list of approved transport companies and routes that can be used to bring pets into the UK on DEFRA’s website.”
Callers to our radio show were all behind the idea of allowing pets on the train. Given the show is based around dogs, this is no surprise, however, many of them suggested designated carriages for pets and their owners.
The difficulties of stopping for Pet Passport checks and worming treatments before retuning to the UK were also mentioned. But these could so easily be ironed out.
Since the landmark opening of “the tunnel’, access to mainland Europe via the Eurotunnel and Eurostar has been made simple. And once in France, dogs are allowed on all other networks.
The Pet Passport scheme unleashed the prospect of travelling to mainland Europe with your dog, that prior to 2002 was impossible without Fido having to spend six months in quarantine on your return.
Flying over is impossible as many of us bull breed owners are reluctant to put our dogs in the hold. Matilda being a bulldog is banned from most airlines being a flat-faced breed. Known for respiratory issues that can make flying a potential health risk.
Ferries insist that your dog stays either in a kennel below deck or left alone in your car alone. Apart from inhaling fumes and dust, the car deck is known to rattle and smell, possibly making Fido a tad stressed in an alien environment all alone can give a dog severe separation anxiety. Without gradually de-sensitising a dog to new experiences like being on a car deck in advance, it’s hard to know how your dog will react.
We understand that some people are allergic or fearful of dogs and the thought of sharing a carriage with a mutt could cause concern. The ‘Get Pets to Paris via Eurostar” campaign suggests that if only one carriage were reserved for dog owners, it would pay doggy dividends giving choice to dog owners. It’s a given that only well behaved dogs would be accepted on board, which applies for all public rail networks.
Over to you…………….
Barking Blondes by Jo Good Anna Webb, published by Hamlyn, £12.99 www.octopusbooks.co.uk