The EU needs around eight million puppies annually to meet consumer demand – far beyond legitimate breeders’ capacity.
As a result, the illegal online puppy trade is booming, and state-of-the-art trafficking networks benefit from a market approximately worth over €1 billion per year, writes Georgia Diamantopoulou, companion animal policy coordinator at the VIER PFOTEN/FOUR PAWS European policy office.
Zoonotic risks are the basis for the EU to regulate the breeding, handling and selling of cats and dogs.The Animal Health Law (AHL) will come into force on April 2021, for better prevention, detection and control of these risks.
The AHL is a unique opportunity to tackle the illegal pet trade, provided that the legislation adding to the AHL addresses two key points:
- the mandatory registration of all breeders and sellers,
- the harmonization of Identification and Registration (I&R) systems across the EU.