Parliamentary question - E-8228/2010Parliamentary question

Puppy trafficking in Europe

Question for written answer E-8228/2010
to the Commission
Rule 117
Nadja Hirsch (ALDE)

The removal of border controls within the EU substantially facilitates trade — including the illegal trade in puppies. This focuses in particular on in-demand breeds or ‘fashion dogs’ which are for sale at much lower prices than those charged by registered breeders. Trafficking generally starts in Eastern Europe and from there moves to the main importing countries such as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Classified advertisements and — increasingly — the Internet are often used to advertise the dogs, with the dealer remaining anonymous. Trafficked puppies are often separated from their mothers when they are much too young (frequently leading to behavioural problems); they suffer from highly contagious and often life-threatening illnesses and are kept in boxes, garages or sheds until they are sold. Customers buy the animals either because of the low price or simply out of pity. No accurate figures on the scale of puppy trafficking exist, since the puppies are not registered anywhere and dealers either hold no vaccination cards or breeding, keeping and transportation documentation or possess forgeries of these.

1. Is the Commission aware of the issue of puppy trafficking and are relevant measures already planned or being prepared to combat this issue? If so, what are these? If not, why not?

2. Given the number of unreported cases of puppy trafficking, how does the Commission plan to collect data in order to get an idea of the scale of puppy trafficking and thus also to raise awareness of the issue in Member States?

3. Given that the absence of a puppy registration system paves the way for trafficking, how does the Commission plan to introduce a central registration system in the EU in order to put a stop to illegal importation into and trade within the Union?

4. Does the Commission consider the current legislation in the fields of animal welfare, animal health and transport adequate to counter the improper breeding and keeping of puppies and the lack of expertise of dealers and breeders? If so, how does the Commission explain the observed growth in trafficking and the high rate of infections suffered by trafficked animals? If not, is the Commission working on proposals to tackle the issue?

OJ C 249 E, 26/08/2011