EU Activities

EU Activities

The EU Dog & Cat Alliance is following EU activities which are relevant to the health and welfare of dogs and cats.

Proposed EU legislation on cat and dog welfare

In December 2023, the EU Commission proposed a new regulation, and updates to pre-existing legislation, which would better protect dog and cat welfare in travel, breeding, care and housing.   

Draft regulation on welfare of dogs and cats and their traceability   

The new rules on dog and cat welfare and traceability are the first of their kind, and include:   

  • Regulation of breeding establishments with required inspections;
  • Minimum welfare requirements for dogs and cats kept in breeding establishments, pet shops and shelters, covering temperature, water, feed and enrichment; and
  • Microchipping as a standard, with full traceability and interoperability across national databases.

As the legislation is scrutinised by the European Parliament and Council for the EU, the EU Dog and Cat Alliance will be looking to add maximum age and frequency limits on breeding bitches and queens, and tighter restrictions on the breeding of brachycephalic animals and those with other exaggerated features which harm their welfare.   

Draft regulation on the protection of animals during transport 

 The Commission also intend to update existing rules on commercial transport of animals (last changed in 2005), including dogs and cats, with legislation that covers: 

  • Guidance on what makes a dog or cat unfit to travel;
  • Temperature and humidity limits; and
  • Maximum journey times and rest break requirements.

While the guidance on fitness and the measures on temperature and humidity are strong, we are keen to work with the institutions to make journey time limits for dogs and cats even shorter, to clarify space allowance restrictions, and to require appropriate bedding and hygiene material for all journey lengths.

EU study on dogs and cats

In 2014, the European Commission funded a study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices. The results were published in March 2016.

The purpose of the study is to collect and analyse information on breeding, keeping and trade of dogs and cats in EU Member States, as well as import and export to third countries. The study aims to determine the extent to which the EU should take initiatives to protect the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices.

The study can be found here. You can find our position paper on the study with recommendations here.

You can find out more about the national legislation on dog and cat breeding and trade in different EU Member States, and why the EU Dog & Cat Alliance is calling for EU action here

Animal Health Law

In May 2013, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a single EU animal health law. This is intended to streamline the current large number of legal acts relating to animal health into a single law, including the current EU legislation on pet movement.

In April 2014, the European Parliament voted on amendments to the Commission proposal. After trilogues with Council and the Commission, Parliament approved the agreed text in March 2016, completing the legislative procedure.

The European Commission has since adopted secondary legislation under the Animal Health Law on registration of breeding establishments.

To find out more about our position on the Animal Health Law and delegated acts, contact us.