Pet shops in Bulgaria are selling huge numbers of animals which are in poor health. Most people who purchase pets are animal lovers who feel sorry for the creatures and do not want to see them confined in tiny cages or aquariums, where they develop various diseases.
For a good example of how to address this issue we can look to Turkey, where the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops is prohibited and customers select their new pets from a catalogue. Meanwhile, the animals are kept in specifically designated places, in decent, natural conditions with access to light.
Is the EU contemplating Europe-wide measures to restrict the sale of animals in pet shops, shopping centres and other places where they are kept in poor conditions and their health is at risk?
The question raised by the Honourable Member concerns both the sales of animals and the compliance with minimum animal welfare standards.
On the one hand, the Commission cannot prohibit the sales of dogs and cats per se, the same way as it cannot prohibit other economic activities. On the other hand, the welfare and management of cats and dogs is not governed by EU rules and thus remains the sole responsibility of the Member States.
In respect of intra-Union trade in cats, dogs and ferrets, Member States have only to ensure that the provisions of Council Directive 92/65/EEC1 are applied. In accordance with Article 4 of that Directive, cats, dogs and ferrets must come from holdings or businesses which undertake, amongst others, to have the animals regularly examined and to comply with requirements ensuring the welfare of the animals held. Therefore, the Commission has no empowerment to impose additional restrictions on the sales of animals in pet shops, shopping centres and other places.