Britain's system for inspecting live animals destined for export could be strained by a surge in requests and a possible shortage of veterinarians if it leaves the European Union without a deal, the government said on Monday.
In a paper outlining the scenario, the government said Britain would have to begin issuing health certificates to animals headed to the EU if no deal is reached on the terms of Britain's exit, set for March 29, 2019.
These certificates, which are signed by a veterinarian or authorized signatory, prove the animal complies with the quality and health standards of the destination country. Currently, they are only issued for exports to countries outside the EU.
It said it is preparing for the scenario by simplifying the application process and ensuring there are enough trained veterinarians to handle a potential surge in requests.
"Without listed status, no exports to the EU could take place," the document said. "We are confident, however, that the UK meets the animal health requirements to secure a listing, as other countries such as Australia and New Zealand have done so."