Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is aware of the potential problems arising from inbreeding in general and of certain breeding practices in dogs that potentially lead to certain discomfort in animals of particular breeds. However, such practices are not regulated by EU legislation and in particular not within the scope of the current EU zootechnical legislation.
Indeed Council Directive 91/174/EEC only provides that Member States shall ensure that the marketing of pure-bred animals is not prohibited, restricted or impeded on zootechnical or pedigree grounds, if certain minimum criteria are met.
As regards farm animals, Council Directive 98/58/EC concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes provides certain requirements applicable to the breeding procedures of farmed animals. In particular it requires that no animal shall be kept for farming purposes unless it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its genotype or phenotype that it can be kept without detrimental effect on its health or welfare. In addition, natural or artificial breeding or breeding procedures which cause or are likely to cause suffering or injury to any of the animals concerned must not be practiced. Up to now the requirements laid down in Directive 98/58/EC have shown to be appropriate to address these problems.
It should be noted that, although not a part of European Union law, several Member States have ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Pet Animals which contains provisions to protect pet animals and seeks to establish a basic common standard of attitude and practice towards the breeding of pets. In certain Member States this Convention has been implemented by national legislation banning cruelty breeding.
Although a considerable body of EU legislation for the protection of animals has been adopted, matters such as breeding of dogs as reported in the question of the Honourable Member remain under the sole responsibility of the Member States. The Commission cannot, therefore, impose obligations upon Member States in this respect.
-  OJ L 85, 5.4.1991, p. 37.
-  OJ L 221, 8.8.1998, p. 23.
-  http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/Commun/QueVoulezVous.asp?NT=125&CL=ENG
-  See Article 5 of that Convention at: http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/Treaties/Html/125.htm
OJ C 249 E, 26/08/2011