Q: Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, NL) - Exclusion of hunting dogs from Spanish animal welfare bill (2022-02-10)

Q: Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, NL) - Exclusion of hunting dogs from Spanish animal welfare bill (2022-02-10)

Every year, around 50 000 dogs are abandoned or killed in Spain when they are no longer deemed ‘useful’ for hunting. Currently, the Spanish Government is discussing a draft animal welfare bill, which calls for a registration system for dogs in order to reduce the number of dumped animals. The hunting lobby has pressured the Ministry into excluding dogs used for hunting purposes from this bill. Registering all dogs follows the recommendations adopted by the European Parliament (1). What will the Commission do to urge Spain to include all dogs in the Spanish animal welfare bill?

Parliament’s resolution also voices EU citizens’ concerns regarding the horrible treatment of hunting dogs. Does the Commission recognise that galgos are no less sentient than other dogs, and that their treatment is far below the animal welfare standards of the EU?

The massive overbreeding of dogs used for hunting creates an international problem, with many organisations working to facilitate the adoption of abandoned Spanish dogs in other EU countries. As adoptions fall under ‘trade’, does the Commission collect data on the number of pet adoptions from Spain to other EU countries, in order to gain insight into the cross-border effects of the poor treatment of dogs in Spain?

(1) European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2020 on protecting the EU’s internal market and consumer rights against the negative implications of the illegal trade in companion animals, OJ C 294, 23.7.2021, p. 40.

A: Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission

Under the existing EU animal welfare legislation, the welfare of dogs is regulated in limited circumstances and in particular during transport in connection with a commercial activity (1). Any remaining aspects concerning the welfare of dogs is subject to Member States’ national legislation.

Consignments of dogs moving among EU Member States must be accompanied by a health certificate and the movement must be notified through the TRACES System (2). However, this System does not gather data on non-commercial movements of dogs accompanying their owners nor the purpose of each movement (adoption or any other).

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97, OJ L 3, 5.1.2005, p. 1‐44.
(2) https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/traces_en