Commercial Breeding and Trade

Commercial Breeding and Trade

Puppies and kittens bred in poor conditions can experience certain health problems. If puppies and kittens are bred in poor conditions, they may also not be given enough experience of different environments, people or other animals to allow them to develop into confident adult animals. When dogs develop fear–related behaviour problems, this can be a long term threat to their welfare as well as being a problem for owners and one of the top reasons for animals being handed over to a rehoming organisation.

Adult breeding dogs which have been removed from commercial breeding establishments and rehomed as pets have also been reported to have health and behaviour problems.

Another concern is the effect of selective breeding practices on the welfare of dog and cat breeds. Different breeds have been bred separately from each other for many years. In general, for a dog or a cat to be registered as a pedigree animal both of its parents must be registered members of the same breed. The lack of genetic diversity which this creates can lead to high incidences of specific inherited conditions in certain breeds, such as cancer or epilepsy.

Dog and cat breeds may also be bred to have specific, often exaggerated body shapes. Extreme physical features, such as very flat faces or very wrinkled skin, can be associated with welfare issues such as breathing difficulties or skin conditions.

As it is currently left to Member States to legislate on the breeding and trade of dogs and cats, this means that national requirements, and their enforcement, can vary across the EU.

We are calling for:

  • EU legislation requiring the compulsory permanent identification and registration of dogs and cats on an appropriate database, which is linked to an EU database. This would allow traceability to help protect animal health and welfare, public health and improve consumer protection.
  • EU legislation requiring the licensing of dog and cat breeders by Member States. This would improve the functioning of the EU internal market by ensuring minimum standards across all Member States, as well as improving animal welfare and ensuring consumer protection.