EU Parliament DEBATE on the identification and registration of companion animals

VIER PFOTEN/FOUR PAWS welcomes the debate and in particular the Commission’s announcement on the start of preparatory work on the identification and registration (I&R) of pets in Europe.


During last week’s Plenary Session in Strasbourg, the introduction of compatible systems for the I&R of pet animals across Member States was debated. All the speakers underlined the lack of traceability of dogs and cats in the EU, resulting in both animal suffering and the spreading of animal diseases and zoonosis across Europe. It was pointed out that this escalating problem is one of the most lucrative revenues for the mafia, which makes a profit by 'producing' puppies massively and selling them mostly to Western Europe markets. The speakers suggested that details concerning the origins, diseases and vaccination of animals should be harmonised and provided not only on a national, but foremost on a European level.

The main discussion concerned the maintenance of a common EU database for the I&R system for dogs and cats. While most MEPs were in favour of a common EU database, a few MEPs expressed their concerns about the EU’s capacity to maintain such a common database, and about bureaucracy, mentioning that Member States already had existing I&R systems and that this question would be better solved at national level. The proponents of an EU I&R system answered that pets are travelling across Europe and might carry diseases.

"The EU Commission intends to start the preparatory work, including expert consultations for the adoption of possible delegated acts when the proposed Regulation on Transmissible Animal Diseases is formally adopted by the co-legislators, most probably in the coming weeks."

Corina Crețu, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy 

The debate on whether this will take the form of an EU-wide system or of a harmonised system is still ongoing.

Finally, Parliamentarians agreed with MEP Renate Sommer, who this month will present a motion for a resolution on I&R, that “we need to bring legislation together” and introduce a system for the I&R of dogs and cats in Europe. Some speakers proposed to give space to the ideas and knowledge of NGOs in order to support the EU Commission with implementing a compatible I&R system for dogs and cats in the EU.

Since 2010, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS has been calling for the EU mandatory identification and registration of all dogs and cats in Europe through compatible databases to reach the goal of responsible ownership, in line with Art. 13 TFEU. In particular, VIER PFOTEN/ FOUR PAWS has established the CAROdog ( and CAROcat ( projects, as well as an EU Canine and Feline Traceability Experts Group in order to demonstrate the feasibility and necessity of an EU-wide identification and registration system in the frame of EU competences and stakeholders’ interests.

The results of the Expert Group are available here: 

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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