Q: Lars Patrick Berg (ID, DE) - Illegal trade in puppies (2019-11-22)

Q: Lars Patrick Berg (ID, DE) - Illegal trade in puppies (2019-11-22)

What was the extent (estimated figures) of the illegal trade in puppies in the EU Member States in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and what profits accrued to the (organised) criminal groups involved?

From what parts of the world and third countries do the puppies come (please give figures)?

In what way is the lack of border controls boosting the illegal trade in puppies?

A: Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission

Illegal trade in puppies is a heterogeneous phenomenon since it involves several different types of crime such as violation of animal welfare rules, fraud, tax evasion or money laundering. Europol has been involved since 2017 in criminal investigations in several Member States (Italy, Spain, Slovakia, and the Netherlands) and Switzerland having led already to arrests of suspects in Spain.

When it comes to legal imports into the EU or trade between Member States, the figures (collected via the TRACES database(1)) are the following: in 2018 and 2019, around 16 000 dogs per year were imported into the EU. The countries of origin dispatching the highest numbers of dogs were the United States of America, the Russian Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2018 and in 2019, almost 200 000 dogs per year were traded between Member States.

As regards border controls, EU legislation in this field(2) provides for controls at the EU external borders for every consignment of live animals coming from third countries; whereas no border controls are applied to any live animal, including pets, when they are moved between Member States.

(2)Regulation (EU) 2017/625 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on official controls and other official activities performed to ensure the application of food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health and plant protection products, amending Regulations (EC) No 999/2001, (EC) No 396/2005, (EC) No 1069/2009, (EC) No 1107/2009, (EU) No 1151/2012, (EU) No 652/2014, (EU) 2016/429 and (EU) 2016/2031 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 1/2005 and (EC) No 1099/2009 and Council Directives 98/58/EC, 1999/74/EC, 2007/43/EC, 2008/119/EC and 2008/120/EC, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 854/2004 and (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 89/608/EEC, 89/662/EEC, 90/425/EEC, 91/496/EEC, 96/23/EC, 96/93/EC and 97/78/EC and Council Decision 92/438/EEC (Official Controls Regulation), OJ L 95, 7.4.2017, p. 1.