Member States’ declaration presents opportunity to tackle booming pet trade


Member States’ declaration presents opportunity to tackle booming pet trade

7 November 2017
Eurogroup for Animals
Eurogroup for Animals welcomes a joint declaration by five EU Member States (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden), calling on the European Commission for action to stop the illegal trade in pet animals across the EU – particularly with regard to the smuggling of dogs across Member States. [1] This declaration, presented by Belgium on behalf of the five Member States comes ahead of the second meeting of the EU Platform on Animal Welfare this Friday, 10th November 2017. [2]

The declaration mirrors a European Parliament Resolution to stop the growing illegal pet trade [3], achieved last year through our Protect Our Pets campaign [4]. Eurogroup for Animals believe this declaration is an important step forward for the European Commission to act.

Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals says: ‘‘The numbers of dogs and cats being smuggled has grown exponentially over the past decade, fueled by a consumer demand for certain breeds, an increase in online classified advertisements, and a pet passport system which currently does not work. There is a huge amount of suffering endured through long journeys, a high risk of transmissible disease, and those surviving often becoming poorly socialised, often leading to abandonment. The joint declaration by several Member States shows a willingness to act together. This is a truly welcome step in the right direction to protect our pets.’’

Existing EU legislation is inadequate to address poor enforcement of the existing provision and lack of harmonisation across the EU. Member States and Eurogroup for Animals believe the EU Platform on Animal Welfare is the ideal place to coordinate the establishment on a voluntary basis of non-legislative measures between Member States.

Dr Renate Sommer MEP (EPP, DE) who was the author of the European Parliament Resolution adopted last year, added: “I am more than happy that these five Member States are now starting to act. We urgently need EU-wide compatible systems for the identification and registration of pets to end this cruel illegal puppy breeding and trade’’.

As the European Parliament already stated in February 2016, illegal puppy trade is not only an animal welfare issue. It is the third most profitable organised crime within the EU after narcotics and weapons and a massive public health risk. The puppies are produced under appealing conditions and usually not vaccinated. Many, if not most of them carry severe diseases and therefore pose a real threat to animal and human health. The joint declaration is truly a step in the right direction, but we need to speed up to end the suffering of millions of puppies.

Eurogroup for Animals commends the work of the five Member States in their efforts to finally address this terrible, inhumane trade. This Friday (10th November), it is hoped that the declaration will result in the establishment of a sub-group to look at ways to coordinate their identification and registration systems. [5] This should mark the beginning of the end of the illegal pet trade in Europe.


Giulia Tarsitano, Programme Officer Companion Animals Eurogroup for Animals, Email: 

Lucy Mathieson, Communications Officer, Eurogroup for Animals, Email:


[1] The declaration was presented at the Working Party of the Chief Veterinary Officers of the Council of the EU on 25th October 2017

[2] EU Platform on Animal Welfare:



[5] It will not take a huge effort to make the pet passport scheme fit for purpose. Member States need a common threshold for the requirements that are placed on owners to register their pet, a similar threshold in terms of the data that is held in existing systems, and a mechanism by which this data can be transferred from one system to another. This would provide the necessary cross-border tractability that is currently lacking, and would remove the loophole that allows traders to use overnight.

We urgently need EU-wide compatible systems for the identification and registration of pets to end this cruel illegal puppy breeding and trade.
Renate Sommer MEP (EPP, DE)
The post 'Member States’ declaration presents opportunity to tackle booming pet trade' is modified from an article published by Eurogroup for Animals in their original language.