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Parliamentary questions
20 May 2011
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Oriol Junqueras Vies (Verts/ALE) and Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE)

 Subject: Illicit trade in animals in the EU

Media reports of illicit trade in animals are becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence. In the Spanish state, the situation was exposed in a programme broadcast by a private television channel in March, which focused on Hungary and showed very young animals being transported in vans and other vehicles under appalling conditions; they were bound for southern Member States such as the Spanish state, Italy, France, and Portugal. A further example, highlighted by another TV station last June, can be seen in the Netherlands, where animals are smuggled in from other Member States. The pattern is the same: the animals are carried in filthy vans, and the death rate is exceptionally high, since half of them are doomed to die on the journey, be it as a result of starvation, heat or cold, or disease.

The growing tendency to abandon animals (the animal rights organisation Asociación Animalista Libera puts the annual figure for the Spanish state alone at 400 000, a total covering a whole range of species including dogs, cats, and exotic or wild animals) is one consequence of the uncontrolled trade in animals in Member States, and the situation is being exacerbated by the illegal entry of animals carried in vehicles fit only for scrap.

Many of the animals concerned end up in pet-shops in Member States — this is what happens in Galicia — with forged papers; they constitute a serious health hazard to other animals and to humans. The trade is highly lucrative for the dealers implicated in it, who buy animals in breeding establishments in other Member States for, on average, as little as EUR 60 and sell them in shops, in Galicia and elsewhere, for more than EUR 600, according to Libera’s calculations.

Bearing in mind that under the Treaty of Lisbon all animals are considered sentient beings with the capacity to suffer, what measures will the Commission take to stop the expanding uncontrolled trade in animals within Europe’s borders?

Does the Commission believe that trade in animals should be subject to any form of legal restriction? Does it intend to make a recommendation of any kind to Member States on trade in living creatures?

Original language of question: ESOJ C 365 E, 15/12/2011
Last updated: 26 May 2011Legal notice