European Parliament voted the legislative package on commercial and non-commercial movement of companion animals

Update: On 28th June 2013 the EU Parliament has definitively voted the legislative package

European Parliament voted in favour of the proposed legislative package on commercial and non-commercial movement of companion animals

On 23rd may 2013, the EU Parliament has voted in favour of the revised Schnellhardt Report on a proposed legislation on non-commercial movement and the proposed Regulation on commercial movement of companion animals


Brussels, 23 May 2013 – More than 60 Millions dogs and 64 Millions cats are owned in the European Union, and one household out of four has companion animals. Movement of citizens travelling with their animals has increased a lot these last years and simplifying this movement has become a necessity. The two proposed Regulations – which will be adopted in “one single package” – will repeal and replace the Regulation 998/2003 (so-called “pet passport regulation) and the Council Directive 92/65/EEC (on animal health requirements governing intra-Union trade in and imports into the Union). This revision was planned first due to the expiration of the derogatory systems planned for United Kingdom by the previous regulation and, secondly, due to change of legal bases with the Lisbon Treaty. The new proposed texts also intend to lighten the bureaucratic burden resulted from previous legislation for all stakeholders (citizens, veterinarians, control authorities…).

The proposed revision has been widely welcomed by Members of the EU Parliament who congratulate Rapporteur Horst Schnellhardt for the compromise he had found between health consideration, freedom of movement of citizens and animal welfare. Having worked on this issue by strengthening companion animal responsible ownership with the information platforms and, VIER PFOTEN welcomes the new legislative package. 

In particular, VIER PFOTEN is appreciating the introduction of the limit of 5 animals to be transported and its strictly limited derogations. Indeed, the proposal provides that non commercial movement provisions apply only to movement of less than five animals unless the movement is documented (dog exhibition, sport…) and is limited to animals aged of more than six months. This will help to enforce properly the legislation, and will decrease the risk that unscrupulous animal traders disguise illegal dog trade as non commercial movement. VIER PFOTEN is also welcoming the better organisation of controls, and the fact that henceforth only veterinarians will be allowed to have blank passports and to fill them out. 

Nonetheless, VIER PFOTEN regrets the reject of the amendment regarding the establishment of a unique EU database for the registration of companion animals, as well as the reject of the demand to use only microchips for identification and not tattoos anymore. “It’s a missed opportunity to establish traceability, meaning identification and registration of all companion animals. Only such a European wide register could definitively bring an end to illegal trade of animals and to the spread of diseases” Said Marlene Wartenberg, Director of the European Policy Office of VIER PFOTEN. “But of course we are pleased to learn that the EU Commission has not completely rejected the idea and intends to make a cost/benefit analysis study on the feasibility of such a database. We hope that this study will conclude positively. With the experience of our EU canine traceability working group we will be able to give concrete contribution to this study.” underlined Dr Wartenberg.
Indeed, several MEPs expressed their disappointment regarding this missed chance but recognized that compromises had to be found.

The adoption of this report by 586 votes in favour and 8 votes against, marks the end of the disagreement between the EU Commission, the EU Parliament and the Council and will permit the adoption of the legislative package in a single reading.


For more information on the process, please consult