The aim of the “Welpen sind keine Ware” (puppies are not goods) initiative
is to put a stop to the practices of the European dog mafia.
The advice of the initiative's partners: don't buy puppies on the Internet, on the
market, from a car boot or from a pet shop.
With their “Welpen sind keine Ware” initiative, leading German animal and
animal welfare institutions (Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen - VDH, Vier Pfoten,
TASSO, Bund gegen Missbrauch der Tiere - bmt, die Tierärztliche Vereinigung für
Tierschutz - TVT and the Gesellschaft für Tierverhaltensmedizin und -therapie),
together with Europe's largest magazine for dog-lovers, DOGS, are joining
forces to combat the trade in puppies.
The aim is to raise public and political awareness for the increasing problem of
mafia practices in connection with puppies and to the possible consequences thereof.
European puppy production is centred in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. From Poland
to Bulgaria, via the Ukraine and Romania, puppies are being bred under terrible
quasi-factory conditions, often taken away from their mothers much too early and
then sent westwards in a dire state - ill, under-nourished and in most cases without
the required vaccinations.
The actual trade in puppies is centred in Belgium and the Netherlands, though there
are no reliable figures to substantiate this. Cees Veermann, a former Dutch Minister
of Agriculture, has stated that he assumes that two-thirds of dogs sold in his country
come from production centres in Eastern Europe. In Belgium, the proportion is thought
to be even higher, reaching 80%. These two countries are obvious targets, as in
the Netherlands for instance any vet can legally issue a Dutch dog passport on the
basis of a foreign one. This results in the puppy no longer being an import from
Eastern Europe, but instead a Dutch one and consequently easier to sell. Equipped
with new papers, the living freight is then shipped to other European countries
such as Germany, France, Italy or even Spain. What however is often overlooked is
the fact that about half of the animals are seriously ill. In addition, the young
dogs frequently suffer from socialisation problems.
The “Welpen sind keine Ware” initiative is calling on potential buyers to
be very careful when buying a dog, and provides them with the following tips:
- Don't buy puppies on the Internet, on the market, from a car boot or from a pet
- Don't buy a puppy on the spur of the moment, and not at all on compassionate grounds.
- When buying a puppy, always have the seller show you the puppy's mother, paying
attention to whether the puppy seems attached to it.
- Breeders not interested in what happens to their dogs are not to be trusted.
The working group on the trade in puppies has been in existence since 2011. With
its “Welpen sind keine Ware” initiative, the group unites leading pet organisations,
clubs, experts and the media in its fight against the trade. For more information,