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Scientific and technical assistance on welfare aspects related to housing and health of cats and dogs in commercial breeding establishments

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Note: A plain language summary of this scientific report is available at


This Scientific Report addresses a mandate from the European Commission according to Article 31 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 on the welfare of cats and dogs in commercial breeding establishments kept for sport, hunting and companion purposes. The aim was to scrutinise recent recommendations made by the EU Platform on Animal Welfare Voluntary Initiative on measures to assist the preparation of policy options for the legal framework of commercial breeding of cats and dogs. Specifically, the main question addressed was if there is scientific evidence to support the measures for protection of cats and dogs in commercial breeding related to housing, health considerations and painful procedures. Three judgements were carried out based on scientific literature reviews and, where possible a review of national regulations. The first judgement addressed housing and included: type of accommodation, outdoor access, exercise, social behaviour, housing temperature and light requirements. The second judgement addressed health and included: age at first and last breeding, and breeding frequency. Judgement 3 addressed painful procedures (mutilations or convenience surgeries) and included: ear cropping, tail docking and vocal cord resections in dogs and declawing in cats. For each of these judgements, considerations were provided indicating where scientific literature is available to support recommendations on providing or avoiding specific housing, health or painful surgical interventions. Areas where evidence is lacking are indicated.

This publication is linked to the following EFSA Journal article: