It is estimated that there are around 61 million owned dogs and 66 million owned cats in the European Union, but there is currently very little EU legislation to protect their welfare. National legislation can vary greatly, with some countries having strict legislation to protect dogs and cats and others having very little at all.
The need for EU action to protect cats and dogs
Eurogroup for Animals and the Dogs Trust are working together to create a Europe where dogs and cats are protected whenever they are bred, sold or moved across country borders.
About the issue
It is estimated that there are around 61 million owned dogs and 66 million owned cats in the European Union. However, there is currently very little EU legislation to protect their welfare.
National legislation can vary greatly, with some countries having strict legislation to protect dogs and cats and others having very little at all. This means that whilst many dogs and cats in the EU are loved and cared for as members of the family, the way in which they are treated can vary greatly from one country to another.
A wide range of serious welfare issues can affect dogs and cats in the European Union and some of these can affect them for large parts of, or all of their lives. We are particularly concerned about issues such as irresponsible breeding and trade and movements across borders.
What we are calling for
Our main objective is to develop EU wide standards for breeding and trade of companion animals to protect animal welfare and ensure traceability.
We are excited to collaborate with member societies on projects that present an opportunity to make a positive difference to improving and protecting the welfare of dogs and cats across the European Union. These include:
- European Commission funded study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices
The European Commission has funded a one-year study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices, which started in early 2014. Based on the study findings, the EU will decide whether action is needed to address any issues associated with the breeding and trade of dogs and cats. Eurogroup and our member societies will work to share information with the study researchers.
- Research on the national legislation on breeding and trade
National legislation on the breeding and trade of dogs and cats can vary greatly and so Eurogroup is currently conducting research so that we have a clearer picture of the current situation. Our findings, together with clear recommendations for action, will be published in a report by the end of 2014.
- Guidelines for the breeding and sale of dogs
We are developing guidelines for the responsible breeding and sale of dogs, which can used by anybody breeding dogs for commercial purposes in the EU. Recommendations for the content of the guidelines were made by our Advisory Board on companion animals, which is a group of international experts chaired by the Dogs Trust's Veterinary Director.
In 2014 we will need your help, so do check back to find out how you can get involved!
A unique partnership
We are proud of our unique partnership with Dogs Trust, UK's largest dog welfare charity, which advises and supports the work conducted in our program on companion animals.
Founded in 1891, Dogs Trust cares for around 16,000 dogs each year at their nationwide network of 18 Rehoming Centres, which is closely aligned with their mission 'to bring about the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.'