EU enforcement action to tackle illegal trade of pets launched


EU enforcement action to tackle illegal trade of pets launched

12 July 2022
The European Commission and the EU/EFTA countries agreed to launch an EU enforcement action to tackle the illegal trade of pets on 1 July, in response to increasing reports of illegal activity from Member States.

According to the Commission, the control action will last until the beginning of 2023 and will be coordinated by the EU Agri-Food Fraud Network. Its objective aims at:

  • Protecting the health of pet animals and public health by detecting irregularities and falsification of official documents (passports, rabies test reports and health certificates).
  • Identifying animal trade (commercial movements) disguised as non-commercial movements, both at borders and later within the EU.
  • Deterring fraudsters involved (breeders, transporters, veterinarians, dealers).
This comes in response to a drastic boom for the illicit cross-border transport of animals amid the soaring demand for pets since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. A substantial portion of the illegal trade has now moved online, with many e-shops and platforms posting ads of “home-bred” puppies, some even offering worldwide delivery. However, these animals are often bred in puppy farms outside the EU, in extremely poor conditions, with little to no regard to animal health or welfare.
European Commission

Eurogroup for animals applauds this step to tackle the vast online trade of animals.

The public can now report illegal pet trade cases to national fraud units or the Health and Food Safety Department by email at 

The Health and Food Safety Department can also provide contacts for the fraud units at national level. 

The action applies throughout the European Union and also to Iceland, Switzerland and Norway.