With video footage: New PETA revelation exposes European “puppy mafia”

PETA calls on online retailers to finally stop selling animals

Stuttgart. Illegal puppy trade on a Europe-wide scale: A recent PETA revelation shows the enormous suffering behind the “mass production” of puppies in Europe. During the research, PETA evaluated and traced more than 200 transport documents from 6,000 puppies from 2023. According to this, around six percent of the puppies died during transport, and survivors were often ill and had behavioral problems for life. The video recordings from dog breeding facilities leaked to PETA show filthy kennels and whelping boxes in which emaciated dog mothers have to “produce” offspring their entire lives and distraught puppies vegetate in unhygienic conditions. On the most used European internet portals alone, around 438,000 puppy advertisements could be counted on any given day. (1) This makes advertising portals the most frequently used platform for buying “produced” puppies. In this criminal business, Germany is an important destination and transit country alongside Belgium, Great Britain and France for the four-legged animals that are mostly bred in Eastern Europe. In view of the massively overcrowded animal shelters, PETA is also calling on all online platforms to finally stop selling sentient beings. The animal rights organization is also appealing to everyone not to buy animals on the Internet or from breeders, but to adopt them from the animal shelter.

“The scenes and documents in the PETA publication are difficult to bear. They show the immense extent to which the criminal trade in sentient beings has now reached throughout Europe,” says Jana Hoger, PETA's specialist for animal companions. “Due to a lack of laws and restrictions, Germany is an important player in the Europe-wide, often criminal puppy market. We must all work to ensure that this animal-cruel business is finally stopped and that people adopt their animals from animal shelters instead of buying them. Because animals are not a commodity.”

PETA puppy trade

The business with animal children is flourishing

The puppy trade is in the top three of the European black market. With an estimated annual turnover of 1.3 billion euros, illegally “produced” puppies are a profitable business for criminals. (2) Also because, according to the EU Commission, almost 60 percent of all dog and cat sales now take place via the online market (2) and because of the lack of regulations, everyone sells animals Puppies from cruel production facilitiescan offer and sell completely anonymously. A number of screenshots available to PETA show that some dealers are now offering and selling the animals to each other via social networks such as WhatsApp or Viber. According to the evaluations, between 17,000 and 20,000 puppy advertisements are placed every month in Germany alone. Online platforms such as Quoka, Deinetierwelt, edogs, markt​.de or snautz​.de, on which sentient beings can be sold like goods, offer criminal traders an opportunity to “produce” more and more animals while the animal shelters are already overflowing. But animals in “legal” sales outlets also come from mass “puppy production”. Two large dog dealers in Germany and Belgium sourced their puppies from numerous breeding facilities in Eastern Europe.

Enormous animal suffering for profit
Criminal dealers supply dog ​​sales establishmentsAccording to the animal welfare dog regulations, puppies in Germany may be separated from their mother from the eighth week of life. Since particularly small, cute dog children are sold, dog dealers usually sell the animals when they are three to four weeks old. Due to the lack of socialization during the important formative phase, many of the puppies later show behavioral problems that often last a lifetime. Since the canine children in the breeding facilities are neither vaccinated nor dewormed, they often suffer from parasites, worm infestations, inflammation and viral infections. In many cases, infectious diseases such as distemper and parvovirus are fatal. In order to enter Germany, the puppies, which are mostly bred in Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Romania or Slovakia, need an EU pet passport and microchip as well as a rabies vaccination. However, this is only valid from the age of 15 weeks. Criminal traders get around this by often smuggling the animals across the border with fake pet passports. This makes the animal trade not only contrary to animal welfare, but also illegal. Added to this is the extreme stress caused by the long journeys, during which the puppies often sit crammed together in small boxes and stuffy transporters. Their mothers spend most of their lives in the horrible shacks. If they are no longer “productive” enough for the breeders or are too old, they are usually killed or abandoned.

Adopt instead of buying! Animals are not commodities
In Germany, around 350,000 unwanted animals wait in animal shelters for a new home every year. 25 to 30 percent stay there for a year or longer. Many facilities have imposed a freeze on admissions in recent months. PETA is therefore appealing to everyone not to support breeding and to take in an animal from the shelter instead.

PETA Germany will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2024. To mark the occasion, the organization is demanding that animals be recognized as persons under the law, i.e. as bearers of interests worthy of protection, and that they be granted certain basic rights. PETA's motto is: Animals are not there for us to experiment on, eat, wear, entertain or exploit in any other way. The organization campaigns against speciesism – a form of discrimination in which animals are devalued based on their species.

(1) EU Dog and Cat Alliance (2020): Online pet advertising in the EU: the cost continues to rise. Available at: www​.dogan​dcat​wel​fa​re​.eu/​m​e​d​i​a​/​p​u​b​l​i​c​a​t​i​ o​n​t​e​m​p​/​E​U​P​A​A​G​_​R​e​p​o​r​t​_​F​I​N​A​ L​_​l​o​w​_​r​e​s​_​4​z​4​Y​1​8​B​.​pdf. (16.5.2024).
(2) European Commission (2023): More animal protection: EU Commission wants reform of transport rules and uniform animal welfare standards for dogs/cats. Press release from December 7, 2023. Available at: germany.representation.ec.europa.eu/news/mehr-tierschutz-eu-kommission-will-reform-der-transportregelen-und-einliche-tierwohl-standards-2023–12-07_de. (May 16, 2024).

Photos + Video © PETA Germany eV