Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission
In relation to the welfare of dogs, no EU harmonised legislation is in place and the matter falls under the sole responsibility of the Member States.
For information, it should be mentioned that the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, prepared under the aegis of the Council of Europe, forbids in particular devocalisation (Article 10(1)(c)). This convention is not part of EC law. According to the Council of Europe website, fifteen Member States have ratified this Convention. However, this does not mean that the other Member States allow this practice.
The Belgian Presidency has organised at expert level a debate with Member States on the welfare of pet animals.
The Commission will carefully listen to the opinions expressed by the Member States and take them into account in the preparation of its second EU strategy for animal welfare foreseen for December 2011.
-  The Convention can be consulted at: http://www.coe.int/T/E/Legal_affairs/Legal_co-operation/Biological_safety,_use_of_animals/Pet/
OJ C 243 E, 20/08/2011