Documents considered by the Committee on 25 April 2018 Contents

3EU Pet Travel Scheme

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Document details

Commission Report on the implementation of Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals

Legal base

Department

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Document Number

(39533), 6869/18, COM(18) 88

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

3.1The EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) governs the non-commercial movement of pet animals.33 As a rule, a maximum of five pet dogs, cats or ferrets may accompany their owner/authorised person during a single trip. While a derogation from the five-pet rule is permitted for the purposes of competitions, exhibitions or sporting events or training for such events, the Government is concerned that this facilitates fraudulent commercial trade.

3.2The Commission’s Report assesses the effectiveness of the derogation. Only the UK and one other Member State reported concerns that the derogation facilitates fraudulent commercial trade. Those Member States suggested further restrictions or revocation of the derogation. The Commission does not propose any changes, but encourages Member States to act to ensure proper implementation and enforcement of the legislation to counter fraudulent practices.

3.3The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) expresses disappointment that the Commission has not chosen to act to address the illegal puppy trade. The Government will continue to press for change and to seek opportunities to provide robust enforcement in relation to health, welfare and consumer protection for pet travel. This will include consideration of the UK’s pet travel policy post-Brexit.

3.4In its Report, “Animal welfare in England: domestic pets” in November 2016,34 the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee reported on the illegal puppy trade enabled by the PETS. It recommended that: this issue should be included within the Brexit negotiations; the age at which dogs can enter the United Kingdom under PETS should be increased to six months; and the Government should increase spot checks at entry points into the UK. Responding,35 the Government explained that the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) completed checks on 5,663 animals travelling into Great Britain in 2015. Of those, 73 animals were found to be non-compliant with PETS. The Government was seeking to gain a better understanding of pet movements under PETS.

3.5We note that the UK has advocated restrictions or revocation of the five-pet derogation, but that there has been insufficient support at EU-level for change. Following the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Report highlighting concerns that the Pet Travel Scheme was facilitating puppy smuggling, it is disappointing that the Government has been unable to build a coalition of support at EU level. We would welcome information from the Government on the practicalities of a change of approach post-Brexit and what work the Government is undertaking to assess options for future policy. It would also be helpful to know whether this issue is likely to feature in negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

3.6We retain the document under scrutiny and draw it to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee given that Committee’s previous work in this area.

Full details of the documents

Commission Report on the implementation of Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals: (39533), 6869/18, COM(18) 88.

Explanatory Memorandum of 20 March 201836

3.7The Minister expresses the Government’s view in the following terms:

“We are disappointed that the Commission has not chosen to take action to address the illegal puppy trade. We will continue to press for change, including raising the issue at future Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) meetings in Brussels. We will continue to seek opportunities to provide robust enforcement in relation to health, welfare and consumer protection for pet travel, including consideration of the UK’s pet travel policy after we have left the EU.”

Previous Committee Reports

None.


33 Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals.

34 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Third Report of Session 2016–17, Animal welfare in England: domestic pets, HC 117.

35 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Fourth Special Report of Session 2016–17, Animal welfare in England: domestic pets: Government Response to the Committee’s Third Report, HC 1003.

36 Explanatory Memorandum from Lord Gardiner of Kimble dated 20 March 2018.




Published: 1 May 2018