How does the law protect cats and dogs from being killed for their fur?

What is the law that governs the trade of cat and dog fur?

The Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 was passed to implement in the United Kingdom Regulation No. 1523/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council which prohibits the import, export and placing on the market of cat and dog fur.

What is prohibited under Regulation 1523/2007?

The Regulation prohibits the placing on the market and the import to, or export from, the European Community of cat and dog fur, and products containing such fur.

How is Regulation 1523/2007 enforced?

The role of the Member States and European institutions in enforcing Regulation 1523/2007

The Regulation requires each Member State to adopt methods for identifying the species of origin of fur and required each Member State to inform the Commission of the analytical methods used to identify the species of origin of fur by 31 December 2008, and subsequently whenever required in light of new developments.

Each Member State is under a duty to report to the Commission on their efforts to enforce the Regulation. The Commission then has until 31 December 2010 to make a report to the European Parliament and the Council. Such report is to be made available to the public.

The Regulation required all Member States to lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the Regulation and to take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. Each Member State was required to notify the Commission of such provisions by 31 December 2008 and is required to notify it of any subsequent amendment without delay.

What penalties have been implemented in the UK?

The Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 provide that where a person contravenes Regulation 1523/2007 banning the placing on the market and the import to, or export from, the European Community of cat and dog fur, and products containing such fur they can be fined up to a maximum of £75,000.

Who investigates contraventions of Regulation 1523/2007 and enforces the Regulations in the UK?

The Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 placed the responsibility for enforcing Regulation 1523/2007 on the Weights and Measures Authorities save where goods are subject to customs supervision, in which case the responsibility lies with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

What powers do the authorities have in the UK in relation to the investigation of infringements of Regulation 1523/2007?

For the purpose of enforcing Regulation 1523/2007 the Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 gives officers the following powers which may be exercised at any reasonable hour:

  • the power to inspect goods;
  • the power to enter premises (including any place or vehicle) other than premises occupied only as a dwelling;
  • the power to purchase any goods for the purposes of inspection;
  • the power to examine any procedure connected with the production of any goods;
  • the power to require any person carrying on a business, or employed in connection with a business, to produce any records relating to the business;
  • the power to seize and detain any goods or records where there are reasonable grounds for believing that they may be required as evidence in proceedings for an offence under the Regulations or (in relation to goods only) liable to be forfeited under the Regulations;
  • the power to take copies of, or any entry in, any records produced or seized;
  • the power to require a person having authority to do so to open any container;
  • the power to open or break open any container.

It is a criminal offence to intentionally obstruct an officer exercising one of these powers or to intentionally fail to comply with any requirement imposed by an officer exercising one of these powers.

It is a criminal offence to fail, without reasonable excuse, to give an officer any assistance or information which he may reasonably require for the purpose of exercising any such power or to knowingly make a false or misleading statement.

Such offences are punishable by a fine.

A person is not, however, obliged to self incriminate them self.

What powers do the authorities have in the UK in relation to the enforcement of infringements of Regulation 1523/2007?

For the purpose of enforcing Regulation 1523/2007 the Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 gives officers the power to apply to the Magistrate’s Court for an order for the forfeiture of any goods on the grounds that there has been an offence under the Regulations in relation to the goods.

The Magistrate’s Court has the power to make an order for the forfeiture of goods if it is satisfied that there has been an offence in relation to the goods. The Magistrate’s Court may infer that an offence has been committed in relation to any goods if it is satisfied that an offence has been committed in relation to goods which are representative of those goods, for example if the goods form part of the same consignment or batch.

Where an order is made for the forfeiture of goods such goods will be destroyed.

Any appeal of an order made in the Magistrate’s Court should be made to the Crown Court. Where there is an appeal pending the Magistrate’s Court has the power to delay the coming into force of any order made by them pending the appeal.