EU Dog & Cat Alliance calls on the EU to tackle the illegal trade of cats and dogs in Europe

The EU Dog & Cat Alliance, encompassing almost 60 organisations from over 20 Member States, held an event today to urge the EU to take action based on the findings of the recently published Study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices. The study, commissioned by the European Commission, provides much-needed evidence as to why the EU legislation on the breeding and trade of dogs and cats is paramount to not only improving companion animal welfare in Europe, but to also safeguarding public health, consumer protection and the EU internal market.

The event, hosted by Daniel Dalton MEP, aimed to build on the study's findings and gather support from MEPs to propose an EU Action Plan calling for more robust and better-implemented EU-wide legislation, including compulsory identification and registration of dogs and cats on a database linked to an EU-wide database, compulsory licensing of dog and cat breeders, tighter controls on the internet trade of dogs and cats and concrete action to prevent the spread of zoonoses and improve consumer protection when buying a pet.

Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director and Spokesperson for the EU Dog & Cat Alliance explains:

"Thousands of puppies and kittens bred for illegal sale in the EU endure horrendous breeding and transport conditions often resulting in severe, chronic health problems. The Alliance is calling for an EU Action Plan to tackle this illegal trade, with three main priorities: consumer protection, public and animal health, and animal welfare. All three are imperative to the protection of the internal market. Compulsory database would be another vital tool which would facilitate the exchange of basic information such as the age of the animal, microchip number and country of origin to allow traceability. This would help prevent the suffering of these animals and address issues related to consumer protection."

Daniel Dalton, West Midlands MEP, explains:

"The illegal importation of animals is a significant concern for many of the Member States, with nearly 1 in 5 of all EU households owning a dog and over a quarter a cat. It is clear EU citizens want action - a recent Eurobarometer, published in March, found 74% of EU citizens believe companion animal welfare should be better protected."

Mr Dalton adds:

"In order to tackle this illegal trade it is imperative we have a comprehensive approach from the European Commission, Member States and the European Parliament to collectively address this issue. That is why I am using this event to call upon my colleagues in Parliament to put pressure on the European Commission to address the need for better enforcement of existing legislation, including through an Action Plan, and to also include this topic in the new Animal Welfare Platform."

Click here for further information on the Dogs Trust Public Affairs team.