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New rules for travelling with and trading of companion animals in the EU

Private and Commercial movement of companion animals will become easier in 2014

After more than a year of discussion, the new Regulation replacing the so-called “pet passport Regulation” for private movement of companion animals has officially been adopted. Up from 29 December 2014, pet owners who want to travel with their animals will have clearer, understandable rules, the legal certainty will increase as the pet passport will be provided by a veterinarian, and the market for illegally bred puppies will have less loopholes with this new legislation. Only the cross-borders adoptions of serious animal welfare organisations could be threatened through the limitation of five animals.

The main aim of the legal changes is to create an easier understandable set of rules for private keepers as well as competent authorities and veterinarians. The legal complexity and the lack of enforcement of the previous legislation has often been an obstacle before.


VIER PFOTEN is welcoming the urgently needed clarifications for owners of dogs and cats, competent authorities and veterinarians who have to work with this issue on a daily basis. Marlene Wartenberg, Director of the European Policy Office of VIER PFOTEN in Brussels says: “The limit of five animals is a clear criteria to make the difference to a commercial trade aspect – even with derogations. The fact that only veterinarian professionals can edit the pet passport is a good signal against illegal puppy trade and non serious breeders and retailers. On the other hand we would have preferred if this Regulation would have been adopted as a legislative procedure, which means that stakeholders including animal welfare NGOs would have been consulted.”


Further, VIER PFOTEN is critical about the derogations relating to the rabies vaccination requirements provided by the Regulation. In fact, the new legislation enables in limited cases non-vaccinated animals to be transported. VIER PFOTEN is concerned that these derogations may leave an open door to illegal movement of animals.