Specific requirements for dogs and cats to be added under the protection of animals during transport legislation

Specific requirements for dogs and cats to be added under the protection of animals during transport legislation

Welfare of dogs and cats in commercial transport

The EU Dog & Cat Alliance is extremely concerned that the welfare of dogs and cats is not adequately protected by the current EU legislation on the welfare of animals during transport (Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005). We urge the European Commission to introduce specific requirements for dogs and cats as part of the revision of EU animal welfare legislation in 2023.

Since the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005, there has been a significant increase in the distance travelled by dogs and cats transported commercially. According to the Commission’s 2015 study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices, the TRACES system registered 20,779 dogs and 2,287 cats involved in intra-EU trade in 2014, but the same study estimated that around 46,000 dogs are traded between Member States every month [1]. 

In 2020, the European Commission committed to revising EU legislation on animal welfare, including animal transport, to "align it with the latest scientific evidence, broaden its scope, make it easier to enforce and ultimately ensure a higher level of animal welfare" [2]. In the Commission’s subsequent consultation, a vast majority of stakeholders considered that cat- and dog-specific requirements were needed [3].


Recommendations

Currently, while some of the general provisions in Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 apply to dogs and cats, dog- and cat-specific provisions are limited to the minimum age at which they can be transported, and maximum intervals for feeding and watering. As such, the provisions do not address many of the issues that could result in reduced welfare and stress of dogs and cats transported for commercial purposes [4]. It is crucial that the revision of this Regulation takes new learnings based on scientific evidence on the possible effects of long-distance transportation on dog and cat welfare into account. 

We are calling for Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 to be expanded to sufficiently cover dogs and cats transported in the EU in connection with an economic activity.

[1] European Commission, 'Study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices’, 2015, https://food.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2016-10/aw_eu-strategy_study_dogs-cats-commercial-practices_en.pdf

[2] European Commission, ‘Farm to Fork Strategy’, 2020, https://food.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2020-05/f2f_action-plan_2020_strategy-info_en.pdf

[3] European Commission, ‘Fitness Check of the EU Animal Welfare legislation’, SWD(2022) 328 final, https://food.ec.europa.eu/animals/animal-welfare/evaluations-and-impact-assessment/revision-animal-welfare-legislation_en

[4] EU Dog & Cat Alliance, ‘Literature Review: Welfare of dogs and cats during transport’, 2020, https://s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/assets.dogandcatwelfare.eu/live/media/publicationtemp/Literature_review_-_Welfare_of_dogs_and_cats_during_transportation_-_Nov_2020.pdf