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Parliamentary questions
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16 November 2011
Question for written answer E-010483/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Cristiana Muscardini (PPE)

 Subject: Clandestine trafficking in dogs in Italy
 Answer in writing 

A massive turnover estimated at EUR 200 million (or, according to the most recent ‘Zoomafie’ report, EUR 500 million at least) is being generated by trafficking in stray dogs, as well as in the numerous dogs ostensibly adopted from kennels in Italy, a ruse tacitly condoned by the municipal authorities, the police and the local health authorities. Thousands of dogs and cats from Italy, particularly the south, where such operations are run by criminal organisations, as well as Spain, Greece and Turkey, are being sent to northern Europe, preferably Germany, where it is reported that between 250 000 and 400 000 dogs arrive each year at 32 collection points, where they are selected for various other European destinations. The animals are provisionally housed in municipal kennels before being taken to laboratories for animal experiments, tanneries for the production of hides or, worst of all, to slaughterhouses where they are turned into dog meat! The manner in which the dogs are treated is far from pleasant, as evidenced by animal rights organisations and volunteers who have been expressing concern for years and have been secretly filming the horrors to which the animals are subjected and broadcasting them on YouTube and Facebook. However, transport conditions are even worse, the animals being crammed into crates, underfed and frequently drugged, this being the most effective way of avoiding detection in the course of what are undoubtedly perfunctory inspections.

In view of this:

1. Has the Commission been apprised of the situation and has it read the reports drawn up by animal rights organisations from other Member States?
2. If so, could it give the reasons for the frequently perfunctory nature of the inspections carried out by the customs authorities, despite the fact that they have been alerted to the problem? Does the large number of applications to adopt animals from Italian municipal kennels, coupled with the discovery that they have been made under false names, not arouse suspicion?
3. How does it explain that, despite guarantees given, the law concerning stray animals and sterilisation is not being implemented properly, as well as the fact that very few records are being kept for dog registration purposes?
4. Given that the Italian Financial Act of 2008 stipulates that contracts may be concluded only with kennels according access to the public and to voluntary organisations, how does it explain the fact that contracts are being concluded by the municipal authorities with cut-rate private undertakings (charging a daily rate of 50 cents per dog) which are allowed to ‘operate’ undisturbed?
5. Can it explain why inspection bodies in the individual EU Member States are unable or unwilling to investigate successfully the production of tinned dog meat originating from the clandestine slaughter of dogs and cats?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 168 E, 14/06/2012
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