An increasing number of pets are being illegally bred, transported and sold in the EU. Not only does this result in a great deal of animal suffering, it also puts at risk the internal market and consumer rights.
Will the European Commission draw up a cross-sectorial EU action plan to address the illegal trade in pets?
Does the Commission have any specific suggestions as to the extent to which the catalogue of penalties for operators involved in the illegal trade in pets could be strengthened?
Trade in pets is regulated by Council Directive 92/65/EEC(1). The provisions of this directive aim at ensuring trade in pets between Member States while addressing the public and animal health risks linked to it. The competent authorities of the Member States are responsible for the performance of official controls related to this trade, while the role of the Commission is to verify that the provisions of the EU legislation are properly implemented.
While the Commission is aware of problems related to illegal trade in pets, it is not, currently, in possession of verified figures that would confirm an increase in such trade. The Commission has updated the animal health conditions for the movement to other Member States of dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals kept as pet animals under the Animal Health Law(2).
The Commission also launched a coordinated control plan on online sales of dogs and cats, and it provided specific trainings for the competent authorities of the Member States.
With regard to the penalties, the legal framework in this regard has been updated as a result of the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2017/625(3). Article 138 of the regulation, which applies from 14 December 2019, provides for a comprehensive set of actions in the event of established non-compliance.
The Commission will continue to work with Member States towards effective implementation of the abovementioned rules.