ABOUT THE ISSUE
One in 3 households own pets, mainly dogs and cats. For most people they belong to the family but an important number of abandoned animals, end up in shelters or on the street and many get euthanized each year. The breeding and sale of dogs is a lucrative business with the welfare of the animals often compromised by overbreeding, genetic breed related diseases, and puppy trafficking.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
The EU has no laws to protect companion animals but for health reasons and traceability requires dogs, cats and ferrets which are travelling with their owners and passing borders to be identified, vaccinated and have a pet passport. In November 2010, the Ministers of Agriculture called upon the European Commission to investigate differences between member states rules and the need to develop a harmonised approach across the EU for companion animals.
The EU Animal welfare strategy foresees a report on the welfare of dogs and cats in commercial practices to be carried out in 2014.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR
- An EU-wide obligation to identify and register dogs and cats in order to ensure lost animals are reunited with their owners and ensure traceability of the animals
- Policies to restrict the breeding of dogs and cats in a way which is likely to cause health and welfare problems
- Policies and regulations to restrict the breeding and sale of dogs and cats in a way which is likely to cause health and welfare problems
- Information and education of consumers and the general public to promote responsible ownership and duty of care
- Council Conclusions on the welfare of dogs and cats
- Written Declaration 26/2011 on dog population management in the EU
- Independent Scientific report commissioned by the RSPCA: 'Pedigree dog breeding in the UK: a major welfare concern'