27.09.2016 Brussels-Protecting Dog and Cat Welfare in Breeding and Trade

On Tuesday 27 September the EU Dog & Cat Alliance and The Parliament Magazine will be holding an evening reception on Protecting Dog and Cat Welfare in Breeding and Trade.

Speakers will include:

Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP , President of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals

Vytenis Andriukaitis , European Commissioner for Health & Food Safety

Petras Auštrevičius MEP , Vice-President of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals

Martin Chudý , Second Secretary, Animal Health, Food Hygiene, Animal Welfare, Codex Alimentarius, Food Security, Permanent Representation of Slovakia to the EU

Adrian Burder , EU Dog & Cat Alliance

The event will focus on important developments related to companion animal welfare in the EU, including the findings of the European Commission's study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices, European Parliament's resolution on the introduction of compatible systems for the registration of pet animals and the Alliance's call for an Action Plan to tackle the illegal trade in dogs and cats in the EU and safeguard consumer protection, public health and the internal market.

More information can be found in here.


EU Petition on breeding of unhealthy traits in animals (dogs)

Petition No.1071/2014 by Linda Mäki-Sulkava (Finnish) on breeding of unhealthy traits in animals (dogs) 

Summary of petition: The petition draws attention to the fact that while there are laws on animal welfare and diseases, these laws relate to production animals, not pets. The petitioner states that unhealthy traits are generally accepted in cats and dogs, when the same traits are considered a developmental handicap in production animals. The petition cites dog breeding which has given rise to short noses, excessive hanging skin, and distortion of structural proportions, such as over-heavy bones. She lists many dog breeds which have precisely these unhealthy afflictions. The petition proposes that the laws on animal welfare be revised. 

More on http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&reference=PE-576.720&format=PDF&language=EN&secondRef=01


EU Petition by S. de R. (Dutch), on the compulsory vaccination of puppies

Petition No 0049/2015 by S. de R. (Dutch), on the compulsory vaccination of puppies

The petitioner complains about the rules for vaccinating puppies against rabies which have been in place since 29 December 2014. According to these rules, puppies cannot travel or be imported or exported for 21 days after they have been vaccinated against rabies. For pedigree puppies, this means that they have to stay with the breeder for 15 weeks. According to the petitioner, this is detrimental to puppies that have been sold abroad, since they thus miss out on the most important phase of their rearing – between the eighth and twelfth week (the primary socialisation period) – with their new owner. As soon as the puppies are allowed to travel to their new family (16th week), they are already in the second phase (secondary socialisation period). According to the petitioner, the new rules lead to behavioural problems in dogs, meaning that there will be less import and export of pedigree dogs and more inbreeding of pedigree dogs. She understands that the rules are there to provide better protection for puppies and better supervision of breeding establishments, but she expects that breeders will forge the dates on the pet passports. The petitioner claims that the EU does not take into account the breeding system used by pedigree dog breeders, or their breeder’s certificates and DNA record. Pedigree dog breeders have been struggling to gain this recognition for years. She states that a breeder’s certificate or DNA record containing all of the data relating to a puppy is a reliable system. The petitioner will continue to argue for pedigree puppies to be able to be imported and exported at 8 weeks.  

More on http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&reference=PE-575.007&format=PDF&language=EN&secondRef=01


2nd EU Conference on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices

VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS was partner of this conference organized by the Representation of the German State of Baden-Württemberg together with TASSO and Eurogroup for Animals. FOUR PAWS enjoyed the event to launch the first edition of the newly born companion animals’ responsible ownership magazine: CAROmag (1).


On 12th November 2015 was held the EU second conference the welfare of dogs and cats in Europe. Whereas the first one held in November 2013 focused on the welfare of all dogs and cats (2), this new conference targeted the welfare implications related to the commercial breeding and trade of dogs and cats in Europe.

It was attended by more than 120 participants from EU institutions, national ministries, permanent representations to the EU, veterinary services, breeder associations and NGOs.

The Head of the Animal Welfare Unit from the DG SANTE of the European Commission, Dr. Andrea Gavinelli, presented the first outcomes of the EU study on dogs and cats conducted in 12 EU member states last year (3). The study highlighted dogs and cats trade represents an annual revenue estimated at 1.3 billion euros. In particular, the import of dogs is estimated at approximately 21 million euros (2014) and cats at 3 million euros (2014). The most surprising fact is that only 13% of purchased companion animals come from professional breeders. Dr Gavinelli emphasized that several European countries, such as Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary or Spain even have no legal definition of breeder.

All the speakers have underlined the lack of traceability of dogs and cats in the EU, resulting in irresponsible commercial practices and animal suffering, especially with the booming of the online trade of companion animals. The EU Commission itself recognized that there was inconsistency in the data registered in the TRACES system related to dog and cat movement, proving the fraud and the black market in this area.

Identification and Registration of all dogs and cats were pointed out by most of the speakers as the only sustainable solution to put an end to the companion animal suffering exposed during this conference by both animal welfare organisations and veterinary services. MEP Janusz Wojciechowski also suggested to subsidise the protection of dogs and cats, which would only require about 0.01% of the total EU budget. He also suggested to promote the adoption of dogs as well as to introduce mandatory sterilization of companion animals in order to minimize the problem of stray animals and the dissemination of zoonoses.

The conclusion of this conference were hold by a representant of the future Dutch presidency of the EU who estimated that in order to protect companion animals better, the EU Commission, the EU Parliament, the stakeholders, the NGOs, the EU Member States and the animal welfare organizations need to work together.

Since 2010, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS is calling for a EU mandatory identification and registration of all dogs and cats in Europe through compatible databases to reach the goal of responsible ownership, in line with Art. 13 TFEU. In particular, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS, together with the EU Commission, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "Giuseppe Caporale" and the Advisory Board on Cat Diseases has established the CAROdog (www.carodog.eu) and CAROcat (www.carocat.eu) projects, as well as an EU Canine and Feline Traceability Experts Group in order to demonstrate the feasibility and necessity of a EU-wide identification and registration system in the frame of EU competences and stakeholders’ interests. Moreover, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS has already exposed all the suffering resulting from unscrupulous breeding and trade of animals within several video investigation, mainly lead in Eastern European Countries (4). The organization has also raised awareness in 2014 on the online trade of dogs and cats through collaboration with Ebay classified ads Germany and the establishment of the website www.stoppuppytraders.org.

(1) Please find here the CAROmag in PDF format.

(2) FOUR PAWS was also partner of this very first EU Conference on dogs and cats entitled ““Building a Europe that cares for companion animals” (28.10.2013). See http://www.vier-pfoten.eu/conferences/2013/2013-conference-on-the-welfare-of-dogs-and-cats/

(3) The full results should be officially published by the EU Commission before the end of the year

(4) See the Illegal Puppy Trade Report of 2014 here http://www.vier-pfoten.eu/files/EPO/Materials_conf/Puppy_Trade_in_Europe/REPORT_EUROPEAN_PUPPY_TRADE.pdf

Summary of the event

20151112_163243 1Dr. Andrea Gavinelli (Head of the Animal Welfare Unit from DG Sante, European Commission) presented the outcomes of the EU study conducted in 12 EU member states last year. He highlighted that “in the EU there are 60.8 million dogs and 66.5 million cats, with an annual revenue estimated at 1.3 billion euros. The import of dogs is estimated at approximately 21 million euros (2014) and cats at 3 million euros (2014)”. The most surprising  fact is that only 13% of purchased pets come from professional breeders! But how can we manage to solve this increasing problem when there are still several European countries, such as: Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary or Spain, that haven't specified the legal definition of a professional breeder?!

Dr Claudia Veith (Delegate Representative of the Veterinarian Chamber of Baden-Württemberg) recognised that the 

non-professional breeders are only generating a profit from selling dogs and cats and they  follow the rule to “produce as many litters as possible and to even breed dogs with genetic diseases”. As a result, dogs suffer from chronic illnesses, which require costly medical treatments!


Sophie Duthoit, the EU Legal Research Officer at VIER PFOTEN’s European Policy Office in Brussels, contrasted the large difference in profit-making of the trade of dogs and cats between professional and non-professional breeders. According to data from France, professional breeders spend about 762 euros per puppy, whereas non-professionals spend less than 260 euros, which means that he or she could sell the puppy for much less (about 361 euros instead of 1662 euros). The greatest difference in cost stems from providing medical treatment (vaccination, basic care, qualify food) and fulfilling legal practices (registration and identification, pet passport, breeding certificate and taxes), not to mention breeding costs. For example, in France, the government loses a tremendous amount of income due to the illegal trade of  companion animals, estimated at 312 million euros annually.

20151112_123904 1Eric van Tilburgh (Head of the Animal Welfare Division of the Flemish Government) noted that Belgium has banned the sale of imported dogs/ cats as well as the online listing of  authorised breeders.

Reineke Hameleers (Director of Eurogroup for Animals) said that, “In Europe, there is a serious lack of traceability implementation of  responsible commercial practices as well as responsible ownership”.


received_10207428922176697MEP Janusz Wojciechowski suggested to subsidise the protection of dogs and cats, which would only require  about 0.01% of the total EU budget. He pointed out that “There are no special regulations for dogs and cats and no legal basis for intervening in this matter”. Some of the possible solutions are to promote the adoption of dogs as well as introduce the sterilization of companion animals in order to minimise the problem of  stray animals and the dissemination of zoonoses diseases.

Dr Felix Wildschutz (Council Presidency of Luxembourg) highlighted that there is not a mandatory identification and registration of dogs and cats or an official certificate and trace notification in Luxembourg. He mentioned “the need of the competent authority to inform the competent authority of the country of dispatch about the non-compliance detected”.

The conclusion of the day


Dr. Jouke Knol (Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU) had heard „about the good and bad practices concerning animal welfare, but the conclusion is that many of us cope with the same problems, and generally people care about pets, but in order to protect companion animals we need to work together: the European Commission, the European Parliament, the stakeholders, the NGOs, the EU member states and the animal welfare organizations. We should exchange ideas about the best trading practices and encourage responsible breeding”.


Agenda of the Event



VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS is an Austrian-based international animal welfare organisation with offices in ten European countries, South Africa, the USA and Australia. FOUR PAWS was founded in 1988 in Austria, and in 2003 the organisation became FOUR PAWS International. Since 2007, FOUR PAWS has had a European Policy Office in Brussels which aims to strengthen animal welfare at the European level by influencing European policies and the legal framework. With the aim of consolidating the consideration of companion animals and the responsible ownership principle in EU policies, in 2010 the office created the CAROdog platform (“Companion Animal Responsible Ownership”), followed in 2013 by the CAROcat platform, and has established the EU Traceability Experts Group. With its European Policy Office, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS has a long standing experience in consultancy on Animal Welfare in Brussels. The main goal is to improve the consideration and the protection of farm animals, wild animals and companion animals at EU level to reach at least responsible ownership through better legislation, but also better enforcement.

Contact information:

VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS, European Policy Office

Av. de la Renaissance 19/11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Email: office@vier-pfoten.eucommunication@four-paws.eu

Phone: 0032-2-7400888

Websites:  www.vier-pfoten.euwww.carodog.euwww.carocat.euwww.lawyersforanimalprotection.eu


Czech Republic: A legislative change to limit illegal puppy trade ?

In Czech Republic, one of the main country producing puppies for the European illegal market, things are starting to change for the animals. Already in 2013, a conference was held in the Senate of Prague, in order to raise awareness on animal condition, and in particular breeding bitches. Since, an Expert group has been established to revise Czech legislation to make illegal puppy trade more difficul for smugglers. A bill might be pucblished before the end of the year.

More on : http://echo24.cz/a/wPLan/zubozeni-psi-ve-vlastnich-vykalech-proc-cesi-chteji-usetrit and http://www.lidovky.cz/stenata-se-pasuji-jako-kabelky-v-prepravkach-jich-umiraji-tisice-p88-/zpravy-domov.aspx?c=A150908_155021_ln_domov_ELE


Commission asks Finland to act on bird protection

Through its hunting legislation, Finland has authorised hunting of the Eider males (a bird waterfowl specie) during their reproductive period, which is strictly forbidden under the Birds Directive. The Directive allows only the hunting of these birds only outsides of breeding or spring migration season.

Already on 22 November 2012, the EU Commission sent a letter of formal notice (first step of the infringement procedure) to Finland. Now, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion (second step of the infringement procedure). If Finland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.

More on http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-4871_en.htm


ENVI Committee voted to stop the use of EU funds for breeding bulls for bullfights

On September 4 2014, the members of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the EU Parliament  (ENVI) voted in favor of an amendment to the Single Payment Scheme of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aiming to prohibit the use of EU funds for rearing bulls intended for bullfights. 

The amendment (6334) has been introduced by the Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout (Greens/European Free Alliance), following a longstanding demand of EU citizens. However, the amendment still need to be voted by the 751 MEPS during the next pleanry session of the EU Parliament (15 September) to come into force.

Please read the press release of HSI here: MEPs Praised for Voting to Halt EU Funding to Bullfighting Bull Breeders

Article of the Telegraph (UK): Britain funding Spanish bullfighting via EU subsidies


Bay Harbor Islands (Florida, USA): A law for banning the sale of live animals

In Bay Harbor Islands, a new approved ordinance will prohinit the sale of any pet animals in the town. The goal of this ordinance, is to increase the adoption of dogs in the overcrowded petshops. There is currently no petshops selling animals in Bay Harbor Islands, and the ordinance wants to prevent the opening of some. Petshops will be allowed to sell only animals' accessories and food. This ordinance also aims to prevent any breeding defect or development of puppy mills.

More information on http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/13/3992717/bay-harbor-islands-gives-initial.html


Ohio: ban of sale, ownership and breeding of exotic animals

Since 1 January 2014, the US State Ohio has a new law banning for private owners the acquisition, sale and breeding of exotic animals listed by the law. This list includes lions, tigers, bears, elephants, certain monkeys, rhinos, alligators, crocodiles, anacondas and pythons longer than 12 feet, certain vipers and all venomous snakes.

More information on http://www.starbeacon.com/nationalnews/x1186897595/Ohio-ready-to-enforce-new-exotic-animal-law