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Parliamentary questions
29 September 2010
E-6868/2010
Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware that illegal trade in pets causes serious concerns. As mentioned by the Honourable Member, a comprehensive European Union (EU) legislation is in place to ensure their safe trade within the EU. In order to further reduce the risk of commercial movements of dogs, cats and ferrets being fraudulently disguised as non-commercial movements, the Commission has recently adopted Regulation (EU) No 388/2010(1) which provides that where the total number of animals moved from one Member State to another exceeds five, the stringent requirements and checks laid down for commercial movements shall apply.

A specific EU legal framework regarding veterinary checks applicable to intra-Union trade in live animals has been laid down by Council Directive 90/425/EEC(2). Moreover, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 882/2004(3), Member States shall lay down the rules on sanctions applicable to infringements of EU provisions relating to inter alia the protection of animal health and welfare and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The sanctions provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

In line with the principle of subsidiarity enshrined in the EU Treaties, Member States are primarily responsible for the control and implementation of EC law. Suspected breaches of EU legislation should be communicated at first to the competent authority of the Member State concerned.

If it appears that a competent authority of a Member State fails to apply EU rules, the Commission may consider opening an infringement procedure against that Member State. The Commission will intervene if there is sufficient and reliable data that non-compliances with EU‑law are persistent, systematic or continuous. Information concerning the failure of a Member State can come from all sources and is also sought actively through inspections of Directorate-General Health and Consumer's Food and Veterinary Office located in Grange, Ireland.

The Commission has currently no grounds to open an infringement procedure against any Member State because of failures in the enforcement of the EU legislation on the controls on trade in pets. If the Honourable Member, however, possesses any relevant information, the Commission will carefully analyse it.

(1)Commission Regulation (EU) No 388/2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the maximum number of pet animals of certain species that may be the subject of non- commercial movement. OJ L 114, 7.5.2010 p. 3.
(2)Council Directive 90/425/EC concerning veterinary and zootechnical checks applicable in intra-Community trade in certain live animals and products with a view to the completion of the internal market. OJ L 224, 18.8.1990, p. 29.
(3)Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules OJ L 165, 30.4.2004, p. 1.

Last updated: 12 October 2010Legal notice