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The European Parliament requires mandatory registration of all pets in the EU, and the Bulgarian National Assembly adopts controversial texts in the Veterinary Practice Act

2020-02-14

© FOUR PAWS

The European Parliament requires a mandatory registration of all dogs and cats in order to clamp down on the illegal trade in pets on its territory. At the same time without any public notice, the Bulgarian National Assembly has quietly adopted a series of controversial texts in the regulation, regarding the registration of pet dogs and pet ownership control within the country.

 

Brussels / Sofia, 13th February 2020. 

 

Yesterday, at the meeting of the European Parliament members called for a new EU-wide action plan: the European Commission and the Member States would take decisive action against the illegal trade in pet animals. Parliament adopted a motion for a resolution proposing tougher sanctions and mandatory registration - measures covering the whole of the European Union, which would protect animal welfarehuman health and consumer safety. 

 

The proposal emphasizes the need for a coherent European Action Plan to improve enforcement and to impose sanctions on participants in the illegal trade in puppies, as well as to improve the capacity of customs and veterinary staff to detect the illegal transport of puppies. 

 

Moreover, an additional goal is to regulate online pet sales and ads and to prevent from frauds people who intend to buy a pet. FOUR PAWS has addressed the European Commission to finally put in place the necessary regulations and control to effectively tackle the illicit trade in pet animals, which causes millions of dogs and cats to suffer every year. 

 

FOUR PAWS has been campaigning against pet trafficking for years, appealing to EU decision makers, calling for some of the key actions, which are now underlined in the proposal. Most Member States already have requirements for the identification and registration of dogs and cats. However, due to the lack of unification of different systems across the Union and the lack of database connectivity in some MS there are serious consequences for animals.

 

The proposal also requires a registration for every person responsible for the life and health of the pet - the breeder, seller, veterinarian, carrier and owner. This will provide greater transparency regarding the origin of the animals.



© FOUR PAWS

 

Particular attention has been drawn to the online sales of dogs and cats, calling on all Member States to broaden the results of the "EU Coordinated Plan for the Control of Online Sales of Dogs and Cats", which emphasized the need for safe trade. The actions proposed include partnerships between controlling institutions, websites, databases and animal welfare organizations to take action against misleading online advertising or untrusted websites. It also offers a mandatory identity check for anyone selling a pet on any online platform.

 

According to a research, conducted by FOUR PAWS, approximately 2.4 million dogs are offered for sale annually in leading e-commerce websites and platforms. many of Many of these pets are of an unclear origin, without any breeding history. Many have been raised in very poor and unhygienic conditions. Due to numerous diseases and health problems, a great number of pets do not survive long after the sale. Trader anonymity is a major driver of illegal puppy trade online.

 

To the contrary last week, the Bulgarian National Assembly adopted, a series of controversial texts as part of the Veterinary Medicine Act, regarding the registration, identification and mandatory vaccination against rabies of domestic dogs. Without any valid motives, in the newly adopted regulation owners of hunting dogs were exempted from paying annual fees. In addition, the compulsory rabies vaccination for all dogs should now only be given to animals that are between 12 weeks and 6 months of age.

Moreover, the politicians eliminated the obligation of owners to register their dog in a veterinary clinic within 7 days of acquisition, if the dog is above a certain age. This would in practice mean that the obligation to register the dog is а one-off and there is no requirement for updating the information if the owners of the dog change.

 

There is also no explicit obligation for the first dog owner or the breeder to register the animal in the Integrated Information System of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (VETIS), which creates prerequisites for illegal practices and does not allow the tracking of potential violations if a large quantities of animals are sold or owned by one person illegally.

 

The newly accepted regulation denies municipalities access to the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency's Integrated Information System, which in practice means an inability to exercise control over pet owners and limit dog abandonment. All these amendments to the Law on Veterinary Medicine were adopted without public discussion or any consultation with experts from the non-governmental sector and the professional organization of veterinarians.



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