The European Parliament made the case on Thursday for EU-wide data sharing on the registration of cats and dogs to tackle the illegal trade in pets that are often badly bred and at risk of spreading diseases. Trafficking of pets, including wild and exotic animals, is increasingly linked to organised crime and poses a public health risk, say MEPs.
In a non-binding resolution, approved by a show of hands, Parliament calls on the Commission to ensure all member states have compatible databases of cats and dogs and consider setting up databases for other pets too. MEPs believe that a requirement to register pets, together with EU-wide data sharing, would reduce opportunities for falsifying documents and illegal trade, help to trace sources of disease outbreaks and curb animal abuse and bad treatment.
Many member states already have mandatory systems in place for identifying and registering pets, but not necessarily for the same types of information or animals, notes the resolution. All national databases should therefore be made compatible, MEPs say. They also insist that the personal data of owners and sellers of pets in such databases should be well protected.
Fight illegal trade in pets and wild animals
Parliament also calls on the EU's executive to adopt robust and effective measures to tackle the illegal trade in pets and also wild animals which end up being kept as pets.
Ill-treated, trafficked pets
Pets that are traded illegally are often badly bred, poorly socialised and at increased risk of disease, adds the resolution, pointing out that 70 % of the new diseases that have emerged in humans over recent decades are of animal origin.
The draft Animal Health law, informally agreed by MEPs and EU ministers in June last year and likely to be voted by Parliament at second reading during the 7-10 March plenary session, empowers the European Commission to ask member states to establish national databases of pets if needed, to ensure effective disease prevention and traceability across the EU. The law also foresees the obligation for all professional pet keepers and sellers to be registered.
Procedure: non-legislative resolution
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