On-going process to change the Pet Passport Regulation

VIER PFOTEN Comments to the Proposal of the EU Commission and the draft Report of MEP Schnellhardt

Background information
Since last year, there is an on-going process to replace the Regulation 998/2003 on non commercial movement of pet animals.

Reasons for change:
–       decreasment of rabies
–       illegal puppy trade
–       change of legal basis generated by the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty,
–       end of  the transitionnal period enjoyed by several Member States until 31st December 2011


The Regulation 998/2003 had introduced in 2003 a single and unique Pet Passport for all dogs, cats and ferrets moving into the EU for non commercial purposes. Then, in 2010, EU Commission had reduced the scope of this Regulation to movement of less than five animals.
To revise this Regulation, EU Commission has published on 5th March 2012 a "Proposal  for a Regulation on the non-commercial movement of pet animals" (please find the text of the proposal below).
To become an official new Regulation, this proposal has to be submitted to opinion of the Council and EP committees. In the EP, these opinions (amendments) are reported by a Rapporteur and five shadow rapporteurs per committee to the European Parliament. Then, once amended, the text can be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council to be definitively voted.
For this Regulation, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) as well as the Committee of Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) have been asked to submit comments, before December 2012. Nonetheless, AGRI Committee has decided not to comment the proposal. The only comments have been done by the MEP Horst Schnellhardt in the name of the ENVI Commitee  (please find the draft version of these comments below).
VIER PFOTEN Comments to the Proposal of EU Commission
Preliminary remark: VIER PFOTEN regrets that the proposal has been drafted by EU Commission without any hearing of stakeholders such as veterinarians and animal welfare organisations.
Nonetheless, VIER PFOTEN welcomes some points of the proposal of the EU Commission to revise the Regulation 998/2003, in particularly:
  • Better rules for rodents, companion birds and ornamental fishes. FOUR PAWS is welcoming the harmonisation and simplification of rules for non-commercial movement of other companion animals such as birds, ornamental fishes or rodents. Indeed, this new regulation proposed an mandatory identification of these animals in an "identification document", whose the content will be fixed later by the EU Commission.
  • Stricter rules strenghtening identification and beginning of registration. The proposed new regulation is improving the existing Pet Passport by requesting vets to keep for at least 10 years the Pet Passport of the animal. Moreover, the Regulation is providing that a unique alphanumeric ISO code should be given by Member States.
  • Better enforcement of the regulation. Article 35 of the new Regulation provides that Member States have the duty to take national measures to improve controls. Article 44 is also requesting Member States to adopt (and to notify to the EU Commission) sanction measures to guarantee a better enforcement of the Regulation.
  • Remove of the limit of five animals to be moved. VIER PFOTEN thinks that the limit of five animals will help to decrease illegal puppy trade.
But VIER PFOTEN is regretting the following points:
  • Possibility to kill companion animals in case of non-compliance. Article 37 of the proposal is providing that when a non-compliant dog is imported from a third country, and cannot be expected back by to this country, because "isolation is not practical", the dog can be killed. Moreover, the same Article provides that "administrative provisions" can be taken if the dog is not allowed to enter into the EU. These provisions could be killing of the animals. This Article is badly harming the old Article 14 of the Regulation 998/2003 which were providing that this killing can be practiced only "in last resort".
  • No registration is planned by this proposal. This has to be added to develop the tool of responsible ownership
  • Exclusion of rescued dogs and juridical personns such as animal welfare organisations. The new Regulation is excluding rescued dogs from its scope as it is providing that any exchange of money or transfer of ownership resulting from a movement is commercial. This means that rescuers of stray dogs will have to respect requirements of sanitary Directive 92/65/EEC and transport Regulation 1/2005, what is leading in several member states to legal problems with charity status of animal welfare organisations.
VIER PFOTEN Comments to the draft Report of Rapporteur Schnellhardt

FOUR PAWS is welcoming the Report of ENVI Committee concerning:
  • The reintroduce of a limit of five animals to be moved with derogations (Amendment 4 and 33)
  • The limitation of capacity of chipping to official veterinarians (Amendment 9 and 72)
  • The ask for registration of checks organized by Member States (Amendment 16)
  • The proposed new definition of non-commercial movement (Amendment 21)
  • The harmonization of the identification document (Amendments 75 to 82) and the way to issue it (Amendments 85 to 92)
Nevertheless, FOUR PAWS would like the following amendments to be reconsidered:
  • To implement the registration of data by the veterinarian instead of storage of the physical document
  • As asked by the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), no derogation should be permitted regarding rabies and no movement of non immunized dogs should be permitted (Amendment 10).
  • Derogations to the limit of five animals should not only focus on the movement of dogs for entertainment and derogations should also include the specific case of NGOs moving dogs for cross-border adoption if the organization can prove its seriousness (registration and no criminal record…) and provide an adequate vehicle for dog transport as stated by the Transport Regulation 1/2005 (Amendment 35)
  • The movement of puppies aged of less than 12 weeks should be a very strictly limited exception permitted (Amendment 41 and 57)