THERE ARE AROUND 66 MILLION OWNED CATS AND 60 MILLION OWNED DOGS WITHIN THE EU. FOR MANY OF US, DOGS AND CATS ARE VALUED MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILIES THAT ARE LOVED AND CARED FOR, WHO PROVIDE COMPANIONSHIP AND EVEN ASSISTANCE.
Unfortunately, many others still see them as a source of income, through breeding or commercial trading. We work to guarantee a safe, secure environment for all cats and dogs – domesticated and wild – where each and every one is respected and can prosper within its own environment. We have focused on the following policy goals in the period 2014-2016.
TRANSPARENCY OF BREEDERS AND SELLERS
Greater transparency of breeding and selling establishments is a crucial pillar for cat and dog traceability.
While identification and registration of individual animals would capture the demand, it is equally important for traceability purposes that the supply is also better regulated. This becomes more important when looking at the increasing population of both dogs and cats across Europe, and the welfare and health concerns that surround breeding and selling establishments.
We have succeeded in ensuring that all breeding and selling establishments for pet animals, including those that advertise on the internet, will be required to register with a competent authority from 2020 onwards. Compulsory registration will bring these establishments into the light, subject them to training and knowledge requirements, and will allow for licensing of breeders and sellers at a national level.
STRAY DOGS AND FERAL CATS
We believe there are better ways to manage and protect undomesticated animals, and that is our duty to do what we can to influence the situation at European level.
Welfare standards vary widely between breeders of cats and dogs across the EU. This has a huge potential impact, on both the animals themselves and the consumers who buy cats and dogs as pets.
For instance, poor breeding practices have been highlighted as producing puppies that are both physically and behaviourally unsound.
The only way to stop the cruel illegal trade in pets, and to guarantee the safety, health and welfare of owners and animals, is to have mandatory national systems of identification and registration, which are harmonised across the EU.
This is the goal of our Protect Our Pets campaign. Rules for the non-commercial movement of pets were first introduced in 2003 and required certain conditions to be met – such as the animal being microchipped and having a passport to prove vaccinations.
However, large-scale evasion of controls and document falsification has been uncovered by many organisations, including our own members.