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Puppies most valuable smuggled item after guns and drugs

As part of his ongoing campaign to combat puppy smuggling, MEP Alyn Smith has voted in favour of identification systems for cats and dogs that will be compatible throughout the entire European Union. The Resolution on compatible systems for the registration of pet animals across Member States seeks to combat pet smuggling throughout the EU. 

Smugglers have previously taken advantage of the Pet Travel Scheme, which was designed to allow owners to move with their pets for work, holiday or pet shows. The illegal trade results in animals being raised and transported in inhumane conditions and with falsified passports. The formal adoption of the Resolution means that the European Commission must now consider what systematic requirements are required concerning the identification and registration of pets. 

Alyn, Honorary Vice-President of the Scottish SPCA, said:

“Puppies are estimated to be the third most profitable illegal trade within the EU after weapons and narcotics. It’s a shocking statistic but, sadly, not one that comes as any surprise. 

“An investigation by Dogs Trust showed vets in Lithuania and Hungary freely admitting to falsifying information on pet passports, such as vaccinations, and dealers regularly transport underage puppies to the UK. Estimated profits for smugglers could reach £100,000 a year. 

“Instead of targeting this piecemeal, Europe can now act collectively to end this cruel trade. We don’t want a single EU database, but what we do want is greater certainty over the age, vaccination status, and traceability of our pets.“