Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission
The European Union is active in promoting and encouraging good practices on companion animal welfare in various ways. In November 2010, the Council adopted conclusions on the welfare of dogs and cats(1) where it calls in particular on the Commission ‘To study and propose, if justified, options for facilitating compatible systems of identification and registration of dogs and cats in order to ensure better guarantees to the citizen through more efficient traceability of those animals (…)’.
As a consequence, in the framework of the EU strategy for the protection and welfare of animals 2012-2015, the Commission has committed itself to perform a study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices. In the light of the results of this study, the Commission will consider whether further actions are necessary in this field.
Since 2003 the identification of dogs is regulated at EU level when those animals are moved across EU borders. Although their registration is not regulated at EU level, some Member States have implemented a mandatory registration of dogs for purposes other than animal health, and some of them have even put in place a national database.
As regards possible future developments of legislation in this area, the EU has limited competence in relation to pet animals. Therefore, any possible Union initiative should be in line with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.