Study on dogs and cats calls for more systematic requirements on identification & registration
The study’s conclusions suggest actions for Member States, aimed at better enforcement and information to prospective owners, and recognises the need for systematic requirements on identification and registration across the Union. Eurogroup for Animals, the primary confederation of animal protection organisations representing cat and dog welfare at EU level, and which was on the advisory board to the study, believes that such a harmonisation is necessary to stop the illegal smuggling of pets, which many Eurogroup Member Organisations have seen at first hand over the past ten years.
Commenting, Elly von Jessen, Senior Policy Officer at Dierenbescherming and Chair of Eurogroup’s Working Group on cat and dog welfare said: “The conclusions of this study proves that the evidence provided by Eurogroup concerning the cruel, growing and illegal abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme, which poses serious threats to the health, welfare and safety of animals and humans alike has been recognised and we are pleased that the study calls for action to address this.”
She continued: “We hope that the Commission will now act responsibly and come up with an EU action plan to tackle this illegal trade, even if only for the veterinary public health risks that the illegal trade poses.”
Reineke Hameleers, Director at Eurogroup for Animals stated: “The Eurogroup family are pleased that this study has recognised the need for improved identification and registration for cats and dogs in the EU. We hope that harmonised, mandatory identification systems and requirements will now be introduced in each Member State, based on what has already been agreed for equines, and providing for effective cross-border traceability. We will also continue to work with the Commission on new guidance for owners and prospective owners, so that they are better informed when it comes to buying or rehoming a pet.”
The European Parliament adopted a Resolution two weeks ago formally calling on the European Commission to take action to stop the growing illegal trade in pets across the EU. The Resolution, which was coordinated by Renate Sommer MEP, was underpinned by Eurogroup for Animals’ Protect Our Pets campaign, which saw over 500,000 e-mails sent to MEPs from right across Europe since its launch on 9 September 2015.
Dr Renate Sommer MEP: “The evidence of the illegal trade in pets, and the threats the trade poses is clear, whatever the results of this study. Whilst Member States can of course do more to inform pet owners and prospective owners on getting a new pet, and should take action to clamp down on poor breeding practices too, the faults inbuilt into the Pet Travel Scheme will not fix themselves.”
“Until the scope for uncertainly surrounding the stated age of a pet in its passport is mitigated, and until individual animals can be traced cross-border accurately, these animals will continue to be traded illegally, pose threats and will leave too many families heartbroken. Following the overwhelming support by the European Parliament, I now trust that the European Commission will start working on the delegated act to clamp down on these practices once and for all,” she concluded.
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We hope that the Commission will now act responsibly and come up with an EU action plan to tackle this illegal trade, even if only for the veterinary public health risks that the illegal trade poses.Elly von Jessen, Senior Policy Officer at Dierenbescherming