According to a study dated 16 April 2015 and commissioned by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, rabies is the cause of approximately 59 000 deaths each year worldwide. This corresponds to the loss of an estimated USD 8.6 billion per year in economic costs.
Rabies, spread in 99% of cases by dogs, has been eradicated in most European countries but endemic prevalences still persist in some eastern European countries.
The harmonisation of EU and EEA Regulations on movement of animals (dogs, cats and ferrets), which came into force on 1 June 2012, led to blood tests on these pet animals being replaced by an up-to-date vaccination certificate. However a study dated 27 June 2015 by the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, involving 75 dogs with vaccination certificates from eastern European Member States, found that between 53% and 95% of these dogs did not present a sufficiently high level of antibodies.
Will the Commission take account of the aforesaid scientific conclusions in order to amend requirements concerning movement of pets within the European Union and the European Economic Area?
The Honourable Member is invited to refer to the answers to written questions E-006602/2011, E-006808/2011, E-006921/2011, E-004606/2013, E-000940/2014, E-000052/2016 and E-007387/2016, which address the issue of rabies and of the movement of dogs and cats within the Union.
The necessary Union animal health rules are in place to ensure the safe movement of dogs and cats within the Union, both for intraUnion trade and non-commercial purposes. They are applied equally in countries belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA). The rules include an anti-rabies vaccination carried out on animals of at least 12 weeks old and documented in the EU pet passport. The verification of the effectiveness of this vaccination by means of a rabies antibody titration test is only required for dogs and cats originating from certain non-EU countries. It is primarily the responsibility of the Member States to perform official controls to verify compliance with the aforementioned rules. In accordance with Union law, the competent authority of an EU Member State may carry out non-discriminatory checks at the place of destination that may include the titration of antibodies against rabies in blood samples taken from dogs and cats traded in the Union.