Q: Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, NL), Martin Hojsík (Renew, SK) – Infringements of EU law in the (online) sale of pets and associated risks for humans and animals (2021-05-07)

Q: MEP Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, NL), Martin Hojsík (Renew, SK) – Infringements of EU law in the (online) sale of pets and associated risks for humans and animals (2021-05-07)

House of Animals research shows that many animals are transported with forged passports, are taken away from their mothers when they are too young and are not vaccinated against diseases such as rabies(1). National enforcement agencies, including the Dutch NVWA, appear to be unable to take action against the forged passports and false declarations of vaccination against rabies, even where unlawful acts are reported(2).

The NVWA also declared to the HoA that it does not take any follow-up action if an unvaccinated puppy comes from a ‘low risk’ country.

1. Does the Commission agree that risks to public health and animal welfare arise from a lack of enforcement of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 and EU Directive 92/65/EEC and the failure of Member States to enforce the legal obligation to vaccinate dogs, cats and ferrets against rabies?

2. In which Member States does the Commission foresee checks on compliance with Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 in 2021 and 2022 and what action will the Commission take in the event of a lack of enforcement and failures in Member States’ control systems?

3. The Digital Services Act is intended to better protect consumers and their fundamental rights online; how does the Commission intend to use this legislation to better monitor online advertising for pets, increase the traceability of traders and ban unverified advertisements?

(1) Breeding trade — House of Animals

(2) The NVWA does not prevent dishonest trade in puppies – House of Animals

A: Answer given by Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission

1. The Commission agrees that there are risks related to public health, mainly rabies, and animal welfare concerns, if the legislation mentioned is not complied with. This risk depends on a number of risk factors, including the sanitary situation in the region from where the animal is sourced. Rabies is almost eradicated from the EU.

2. The Commission would like to highlight that official controls on movements of puppies are the responsibility of Member States as are the actions to be taken in case of lack of enforcement. The examples of illegal movements mentioned by the Honourable Member could be considered fraud rather than non-compliances(1). Investigation of these cases is the responsibility of the Member States . At this stage, the Commission does not plan any audits on Regulation (EU) No 576/2013(2) in Member States.

3. The proposed Digital Services Act(3) (DSA) sets out means for all actors in the online ecosystem to counter illegal content, as defined by national or EC law. Any trade or advertisement of pets defined as illegal by national or EC law will be covered by the provisions of the DSA. The DSA will further ensure traceability of traders operating on the online marketplaces and enhance cooperation between the competent authorities to ensure the enforcement of the EU rules in the online environment.

(1) https://ec.europa.eu/food/system/files/2021-02/reg-com_ahw_20201214_pres_ill-mov-pet_eur.pdf

(2) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32013R0576&from=EN

(3) https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/digital-services-act-ensuring-safe-and-accountable-online-environment_en