Each year, around 46 000 dogs are traded between one EU Member State and another, as are possibly an even higher number of cats.
The Commission’s tracking system is not yet able to properly monitor those transactions and is only able to register around half of the estimated number of transactions that take place.
Unscrupulous individuals are using this PETS (Pet Travel Scheme) system to traffic animals around the EU.
Trafficked animals often suffer physical and psychological abuse, which has no place in a civilised and democratic society such as the EU.
Will the Commission take steps to further develop the means of monitoring and protecting animals across borders between Member States, so as to prevent them being trafficked, and if so, what will those steps be?
The enforcement of EU rules on the cross-border movement of dogs and cats (animal health requirements and protection during transport) is a responsibility of the Member States. The Commission has taken several initiatives so far to assist the Member States in tackling illegal trade in dogs and cats, in particular the disguise of intra-Union trade as non-commercial movements.
These include training of Member States’ officials in the framework of the ‘Better Training for Safer Food’ initiative, regular exchanges of views at meetings of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed and the setting up of a network of national contact points to facilitate exchange of information and intelligence amongst competent authorities in relation to illegal practices involving pets.
The computerised information system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) is used on a daily basis by thousands of Member State officials and operators to ensure the digital recording of all movements of animals traded in the Union and of official controls carried out on those animals.
According to TRACES, about 171 000 dogs and 16 000 cats were traded in the Union in 2016. However, TRACES cannot record illegal movements of dogs and cats which, by their nature, escape the controls by the official services.