According to animal protection organisations and animal shelters, there has been a massive increase in the illegal puppy trade in the EU and the illegal transport of puppies from non-EU countries into the EU during the pandemic. The puppies are often ‘produced’ in miserable conditions, with both the young animals and their parents being kept in conditions which do not meet animal welfare standards and suffering health problems as a result. At the beginning of 2020 – before the huge increase in illegal sales of animals born in ‘puppy factories’ – the European Parliament expressed its views with a motion for a resolution for, inter alia, more checks and improved implementation of legislation in this area and for a cross-sectoral action plan against the illegal pet trade to be drawn up.
1. Will the Commission be reviewing the provisions on the import of puppies into the EU as part of its revision of animal health law?
2. Will there also be a study of the national provisions of each country concerned on the import of puppies from Member States and non-EU countries and on penalising breaches of these rules?
3. Will the Commission be submitting a proposal to regulate the on-line advertising of puppies for sale which could harmonise the provisions in this area?
1. The Commission is not revising the Animal Health Law (AHL) that became applicable on
21 April 2021. The entry into the EU of dogs is regulated by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU)2020/6921 that becomes applicable together with the AHL. The non-commercial movement of
pet animals from third countries is regulated by Regulation (EU) 576/20132. At the moment,
the Commission does not plan to amend these provisions with regard to import of dogs.
2. At this stage, the Commission has not planned any study on the national provisions of
Member States on the import of puppies, as rules for the movement of puppies related to entry
into the EU, movements within the EU and non-commercial movements are laid down in the
EU legislation and therefore national rules do not apply. Official controls on imports 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-compliances3. Investigation of these cases is the responsibility of the Member States.
3. The Commission is not considering submitting a proposal to regulate specifically the
online trade of puppies. However, the Digital Services Act (DSA)4, currently in negotiations,
will introduce horizontal due diligence obligations on online intermediaries, including
marketplaces, in order to enable timely reaction against illegal content and to ensure
traceability of traders operating on online platforms. In this context, any trade or
advertisement of pet defined as illegal by national or Union law will be covered by the
obligations enshrined in the DSA.
4 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Single Market For Digital Services (Digital Services Act) and amending Directive 2000/31/EC COM/2020/825 final