Although the exact figures are unknown, it is likely that every year hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are bred and transported in poor conditions to be illegally sold across Member States. In an abuse of the conditions laid down in Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 on the non-commercial movement of pets and circumventing those for trade and imports stipulated in Regulation (EU) 2016/429, criminals are illegally smuggling dogs and cats marked with unregistered electronic transponders (microchips), many of which are fraudulently obtained, across borders for commercial purposes.
While Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 specifies that dogs and cats must be marked with an electronic transponder and accompanied by a pet passport, it does not require the electronic transponder to be registered on a database in the country of origin, nor the passport number to be inextricably linked to the transponder code. As such, this requirement does little to ensure the traceability of dogs and cats or to detect fraudulent activity.
Does the Commission intend to make it a requirement for pets to be registered in their Member State of origin before being transported, and does it intend to establish an EU-wide system that allows the exchange of data to curb this fraudulent activity?
The issue raised by the Honourable Member relates to breaches of EU legislation.
The animal health requirements for movement of dogs and cats between Member States, when they are moved to be sold (commercial movement) or when they move with their owner (non-commercial movement), are laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/429 (Animal Health Law — AHL)(1) and its supplementing legislation.
The AHL provides that regulation (EU) No 576/2013(2) laying down the animal health requirements applicable to non-commercial movement of pet animals applies until 21 April 2026.
This legal framework provides that dogs and cats moved to another Member State are individually identified and accompanied by an individual identification document containing the relevant animal health requirements.
The individual identification of the dogs and cats is indicated on the individual identification document, creating in this way a link between the animals and the documentation accompanying them and therefore ensuring traceability.
The AHL replaced and further strengthened the traceability requirements by introducing the following new elements:
— Compulsory registration of establishments breeding dogs and cats, regardless of whether animals are to be moved to other Member States or not;
— Compulsory registration of transporters engaged in the transportation of dogs and cats between Member States; and
— Approval obligation for shelters and assembly centres from which dogs and cats are moved to another Member State.
This legal framework provides a suitable basis to competent authorities of Member States to fulfil their responsibility of controlling movements of companion animals.
 Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (‘Animal Health Law’) (OJ L 84, 31.3.2016, p. 1).
 Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals and repealing Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 (OJ L 178, 28.6.2013, p. 1).