Against the backdrop of organised crime, the lucrative illegal trade in dogs and cats in Europe and the importance of raising standards of animal welfare in the EU, there is currently little by way of EU legislation to protect dogs and cats. Millions of dogs and cats are transported illegally across Europe’s borders every year – sick, unvaccinated, without documents or with fake documents – affecting not only animal welfare, but also the EU’s internal market. Therefore, I would like to turn to the Commission with the following questions:
1. How does the Commission plan to combat the smuggling of and illegal trade in cats and dogs, and can the Commission outline a time frame for any future actions?
2. What steps will the Commission take to address the risks to the EU internal market in this context?
3. Which Directorates-General will be involved in addressing these risks?
A: Commissioner Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission
The EU has a full set of legislation in place to control the non-commercial movement of pet dogs and cats and the trade in animals of those species: Directive 92/65/EEC(1) regulates the trade of dogs and cats and Regulation (EU) 577/2013(2) regulates the non-commercial movement of pets.
This legal framework has recently been strengthened with the Animal Health Law(3) and its supplementing legislation on the compulsory registration of establishments for breeding of dogs and cats in the EU and the obligation for approval of shelters and assembly centres from which dogs and cats can be moved to other Member States.
This legislation will apply from 21 April 2021 and will, in conjunction with the regulation on official controls (Regulation (EU) 2017/625)(4), support Member States in their efforts to perform better controls on movements of dogs and cats, which is their responsibility. This will also allow ensuring better welfare conditions for the animals.
To support national investigations, Member States agreed to set up a network of national contact points aimed at exchanging between Member States information on cases of non-compliances through the administrative assistance and cooperation (AAC) mechanism provided for in Title IV of Regulation (EU) 2017/625.
This mechanism enables competent authorities to share information, detect, investigate and take effective and proportionate action to pursue cross-border violations of Union agri-food chain legislation, including in cases where potential fraudulent or deceptive practices have or could have a cross-border dimension.