In 2014, a Dogs Trust investigation uncovered serious compliance problems with EU legislation on the movement of pet animals. The non-commercial movement legislation was found to be used as a cover by commercial dealers to illegally import puppies into the UK.
In its response to Written Question P-000091/2015, the Commission stated that it was aware that trade in and imports of dogs could be fraudulently disguised as non-commercial movement, but the new Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 includes a stronger legal base for Member States' controls of cross-border movements of pet animals. The Commission also referred to an overview report by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) which found a number of shortcomings in compliance regarding pet animals arriving from third countries.
1. Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 has now been in force for 3 months. How is the Commission monitoring whether it is addressing the issue of the commercial import of dogs being fraudulently disguised as non-commercial movement? In particular, what is being done to ensure compliance as regards the movement of underage puppies which have falsified documents and/or inappropriate vaccinations?
2. How is it monitoring whether Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 is addressing the issues reported in the FVO overview report on import controls?
The 2014 Dogs Trust investigation addressed movements of puppies into the UK from other Member States.
To address the possible disguise of commercial movements of pet animals as non-commercial movements, the European Parliament and the Council decided to fix in Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 the maximum number of animals that may accompany the owner or an authorised person during a single non-commercial movement. The Commission has been asked to submit a report on the implementation of this provision by 29 June 2018 and, where necessary, to propose amendments to the above rules.
The Food and Veterinary Office's (FVO) ‘Overview report of the audits carried out in Member States to evaluate import controls carried out at import points other than border inspection posts’(1) provides a summary of the outcome of a series of audits which objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of the controls carried out by Member States to prevent the introduction into the Union of possible animal diseases through non-commercial movements of pet animals from third countries.
The FVO overview report concludes that regulation (EU) No 576/2013(2) addresses most of the shortcomings identified during the audits. It also acknowledges the importance of DG SANTE's ‘Better training for safer food’ courses on the movement of dogs and cats launched end of 2013 and still ongoing, that facilitate the exchange of information, experience and best practices between competent authorities, thus fostering a better implementation of Union legislation. The effect of the new legislation cannot be assessed in the short period that has elapsed since the regulation entered into force. A new series of audits covering this issue will be considered in the planning of future FVO activities.