Decision Maker Response

Andrea Gavinelli’s response

Andrea Gavinelli
Head of Unit Animal Welfare, European Commission

Jun 18, 2013 — What Subject: Cierre de la fábricas de cachorros en Europa. Endurecimiento de la ley penal / Closure of puppy mills in Europe. Tightening the criminal law.
In recent years, many European Union citizens have called for integrating the protection of companion animals into EU policies, pointing out the negative consequences of unregulated and uncontrolled breeding, trade and trans-boundary movement of dogs and cats. The Commission recognizes the importance of this issue.
The European Commission attaches considerable importance to animal welfare. Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) obliges the Union and its institutions to pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals as sentient beings when formulating and implementing policies on agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space. Accordingly a substantial body of Union law for the protection of farm and laboratory animals has been developed.
Union institutions must, however, stay within the competences conferred on them by the Treaties. Their powers to improve animal welfare by law making are limited. As a result welfare protection of companion animals remains under the sole responsibility of the Member States. Moreover the TFEU provides the Union's institutions only with very limited powers to define criminal offences. Article 83 of the TFEU currently limits those to specific areas not covering animal welfare.
Therefore the standards on the welfare for dogs and cats and their enforcement vary across the Union.
Please note that within the framework of the EU strategy for the protection and welfare of animals 2012-2015, the Commission decided to perform a study on the welfare of dogs and cats involved in commercial practices, aiming at evaluating if these concerns reflect a general situation in the EU. The results of the study will be available by the end of 2014.
In addition the Commission will organise the first European Conference on "The welfare of dogs and cats" to collect information on this issue, which will take place in Brussels on 28 October, 2013.

Head of Unit