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Rabies Excluded: Quarantines to Pet Passports, 1902–2000

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Part of the book series: Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History ((STMMH))

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Abstract

Rabies re-entered Britain only twice in the twentieth century, in 1918–1922 and in 1969. However, mad dogs and their disease remained in the popular consciousness throughout the century, not least because of the national pride over being a rabies-free country and propaganda on the threat of imported rabies. This was evident at all levels of society, from government ministers, civil servants and the scientific elite, through to antivivisectionists, who claimed that it was their protests that prevented a Pasteur Institute being established in London and had produced the stamping out policy. In the inter-war period, rabies became exotic, even tropical, a disease of the dogs of expatriates returning from India and Asia. It was, of course, the association with Empire that Noel Coward drew upon in his parody of British colonial society in his song ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’. Yet, in the last quarter of the century, rabies was re-domesticated in a European context, with attempts to reinforce border controls and quarantines against the new threat from fox rabies, and growing support for allowing vaccinated animals to be imported without quarantines. Indeed, the year 2000 saw the partial relaxation of the iconic quarantine regulations and the introduction of Pet Passports. These allowed dogs and cats that had been vaccinated, passed blood tests, and microchipped, to be brought in and out of the country.

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© 2007 Neil Pemberton and Michael Worboys

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Pemberton, N., Worboys, M. (2007). Rabies Excluded: Quarantines to Pet Passports, 1902–2000. In: Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230589544_7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230589544_7

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-35998-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-230-58954-4

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

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