Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 requires cats and dogs to have a passport detailing their vaccination against rabies. This is motivated by the dual aim of protecting public health and animal welfare on the legal basis of Articles 43 and 168(4)(b) TFEU (previously Articles 37 and 152(4)(b) of the EC Treaty). The UK, Ireland and Malta also require pets entering their territory to have an electronic microchip (transponder) to facilitate their identification.
Article 13 TFEU introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon constitutes a commitment by the Union to pay full regard to animal welfare in all its activities.
EU legislation on farm animal welfare in force since 1978 reflects the basic five freedoms (freedom from discomfort, from hunger and thirst, from fear and distress, from pain, injury and disease and freedom to express natural behaviour).
The problem of stray dogs is one which is widespread across the EU. Abandoned pets are held in dog shelters or put down, which constitutes a serious violation of their welfare. This also presents a threat to human health as neglected dogs may carry disease and may become antisocial.
A system of mandatory chipping of pet dogs in the EU, enabling them to be identified, would ensure that owners are required to take full responsibility for their pets’ welfare while also protecting against the public health threat of unvaccinated, aggressive and vagrant dogs.
1. Does the Commission have competence to propose legislation in this regard on the basis of Article 13 TFEU?
2. Does the Commission consider that this problem could be resolved by European legislation?
3. Does the Commission intend to include domestic animals in its revision of the EU policy on animal welfare (EU-PAW) which is currently under way?