PETS ARE BEING TRADED ILLEGALLY WITHIN EUROPE.
This illegal trade severely impacts upon the health and welfare of the animals involved. Many are born in inhumane circumstances, socialised poorly and transported great distances, often at the risk of disease. Once purchased, often online, their unsuspecting owners are regularly left heartbroken when things go wrong.
The illegal pet trade poses serious threats, not only to the health and welfare of the trafficked animals but also to the health and welfare of other animals and the public across Europe.
We want to make the invisible visible. We want to close the loopholes that allow this trade to flourish, and to ensure that dogs, cats and other pets are protected, both from the trade itself, and from the serious disease and behavioural risks that threaten the health and welfare of all animals and owners alike.
A CAMPAIGN THAT MOBILISED SUPPORT ACROSS EUROPE
Last year, we launched a major animal welfare campaign to tackle Europe’s growing underground and illegal pet trade. Designed to make the invisible visible, the Protect Our Pets campaign engaged citizens’ right across Europe through the use of multimedia tools and social network channels.
Our dynamic video encouraged the general public to use their voice and called for pets to be properly identified and registered, and therefore linked to an owner.
PROTECT OUR PETS CAMPAIGN – A SUCCESS
Protect Our Pets is the first ever pan-European campaign to stop the illegal trafficking of pet animals, and has been undertaken with the political support of the German MEP, Renate Sommer. A system for equine identification and registration will soon exist across Europe; now, we want the Commission to also apply this system to pets.
The campaign aimed to stop the illegal trade of pets within the EU by addressing the ambiguity that exists over that most opaque part of the pet passport – the age of the animal. Many Member States already have identification and registration requirements for cats and dogs but the requirements, the information that is held and the method of recording this differ between countries and even between regions.
Harmonising these standards would enable pets to be traced across borders effectively, and each breeder and owner would know that they have the same responsibility to identify and register their animals, wherever they live. In short, this would close the loophole in the Pet Travel Scheme that allows pets to be traded illegally, via non-commercial means, for purely commercial purposes.
Since September 2016, over 507,000 e-mails have been sent to MEPs asking them to back the Motion that has led to a Resolution and formally call upon the Commission to harmonise these systems, using new powers under the Animal Health Law. Renate Sommer MEP, who has drafted this Resolution in close cooperation with Eurogroup for Animals, is confident that the Council will back her calls for similar systems.