ARCHIVE: International trade: Exports of live animals to European Union (EU) Member States
Live animal exports by species
- Horses, ponies, donkeys, zebras, asses and mules (equidae)
- Captive birds
- Primates, zoo animals and exotic species
- Defra Zoo Liaison Committee
- Circus animals and animal acts
- Endangered species
- Further information
The export of live animals to Member States is subject to harmonised EU rules. Animals can also be traded between the UK and third countries (countries outside the EU) if an Export Health Certificate is agreed between the destination country and the UK.
Exporters should also familiarise themselves with the following information:
- Legal basis for trade
- Defra's responsibilities
- Exporters' responsibilities
- Export Health Certificates
Live cattle may be traded between the UK and any EU Member States. Animals eligible for intra-Community trade must comply with harmonised EU animal health and welfare rules, as well as domestic rules concerning movement licences and identification.
Exporters of cattle destined for intra-Community trade are advised to read the exporter guide on exports of cattle (PDF 42 KB) to ensure that they are familiar with the requirements. See also the further information section below.
Live pigs may be traded between any Member States. Animals eligible for intra-Community trade must comply with harmonised EU animal health and welfare rules as well as domestic rules concerning movement licences and identification.
Live sheep/goats may be traded between any Member States. Animals eligible for intra-Community trade must comply with harmonised EU animal health and welfare rules as well as domestic rules concerning movement licences and identification. Sheep and goats exported to other Member States for breeding must comply with scrapie monitoring requirements.
Intra-Community trade in equidae is subject to harmonised EU animal health rules and welfare rules. In addition, the rules relating to horse passports must be complied with. The Tripartite Agreement (PDF 452 KB) between the UK, France and Ireland allows the movement and trade of equidae. The Agreement sets out specific requirements for the movement of equidae between these three countries. Further information relating to checks on horses traded between Member States (PDF 19 KB) is available. See frequently asked questions.
Poultry such as fowl, turkey, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, quails, pigeons, pheasants, partridges and ratites may be traded between any Member States. However, animals eligible for intra-Community trade must comply with harmonised EU animal health and welfare rules. To export more than 20 birds or hatching eggs to another Member State you need to be a member of the Poultry Health Scheme.
Poultry Health Scheme
The Poultry Health Scheme has been in place since 1990 and is a trade facilitation scheme that was established to implement a system of approval for establishments officially recognised as meeting the requirements of the Directive covering the animal health conditions for trade in poultry and hatching eggs.
Membership of the scheme is open to all poultry breeders, rearers and hatcheries operating as either individuals or companies in the capacity of either owners or tenants at a particular premise.
The Poultry Health Scheme (PHS) is operated by Animal Health Divisional Offices (AHDO) of DEFRA/SEERAD/NAW, with administrative support from the Agriculture Departments.
- Poultry Health Scheme Members Handbook (PDF 188 KB) provides all the information you need to know about this scheme. Advice on charging is available Poultry Health Scheme fees page.
- A Welsh version (PDF 324 KB) is also available.
This leaflet explain the rules traders need to comply with when moving captive and pet birds between EU and non-EU countries (PDF 215KB). The leaflet is for guidance only. It covers both Psittacines (birds of the parrot group) and non Psittacines.
Primates, zoo animals and exotic species of animals for display, education, conservation or research purposes
These animals may be traded between Member States and are covered by Directive 92/65/EEC. Animals eligible for intra-Community trade are subject to harmonised EU animal health and welfare rules. Movement of these animals must take place either from a registered holding or an approved premises. Further information...
The purpose of the Defra-Zoos Liaison Committee is to provide a forum for discussion on animal health, welfare and CITES issues relating to movements between Member States and imports from third countries. The Committee membership is made up of people representing the following groups: BIAZA, BALLPA, IZVG, BVZ, International Animal Health, Animal Welfare Transport, Rabies Review, CITES Policy/Licensing, Oxford University Vet Service and European Zoos. Minutes of the Committee meeting can be found below.
- Minutes of the Committee meeting 22 November 2010 (PDF 120 KB)
- Minutes of the Committee meeting 17 August 2010 (PDF 130 KB)
- Minutes of the Committee meeting 12 May 2010 (PDF 120 KB)
- Minutes of the Committee meeting 20 January 2010 (PDF 120 KB)
- Minutes of the Committee meeting 28 October 2009 (PDF 30 KB)
- Minutes of the Committee meeting 20 July 2009 (PDF 40 KB)
- Minutes of the Committee meeting 13 August 2008 (PDF 50KB)
Defra held an animal movement workshop at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire and Teams from different departments gave PowerPoint presentations. Listed below is a brief summary of the key points from the presentations and, answers to questions raised during the event.
Directive 92/65/EEC - Powerpoint presentation key points:
The Balai Directive sets out rules for the movement of live animals for intra-Community trade and imports from third countries. The Balai Directive sets out two levels of requirements, depending on whether a premises is ‘registered’ under Article 4 or ‘approved’ under Article 13 of the Directive. Certification of animals from an approved premises meets a higher standard of disease scrutiny because the conditions laid down for the approval of premises are stricter than the conditions that registered premises must meet.
In addition, approved bodies or registered premises must report to the Divisional Veterinary Manager of the presence/suspicion of any national notifiable disease. Keepers are required to notify the approved veterinarian if any animal appears unwell or dies.
Further information, including a Q & A, can be found at the following links:
- Movement of live animals (other than domestic species) between member states under the 'Balai' Directive 92/65/EEC
Animal movement - Powerpoint presentation key points:
During peace time movements of live animals can take place subject to compliance with EU and National rules.
During a disease outbreak such as Foot and Mouth Disease, Bluetongue and Avian Influenza the first line of defence is to stop disease spread. A national ban on live animal movements comes into effect once disease is confirmed and all exports and imports are stopped. Measures are also taken in accordance with the appropriate EU legislation to contain disease. A risk-based staged approach to ease movement restrictions is applied when evidence indicates it is appropriate to do so before movement on restrictions are lifted to permit animals to move.
Review of UK Rabies Disease and Control Policy for Mammals - Powerpoint presentation key points:
The purpose of the review was to examine whether existing UK rabies import controls, including quarantine were proportionate and sustainable and more importantly to examine the controls applicable to imports of rabies susceptible animals destined for zoos.
In October 2007, the European Commission submitted a report to the Council of Ministers and European Parliament outlining options to apply on the expiry of the transitional period permitting the UK and certain other Member States to retain additional import controls for 5 years. The Report was based on European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions available from their website.
Also in late 2007, a draft paper summarised the scientific evidence based for rabies infection in mammals and made recommendations for appropriate and proportionate import controls in light of recommendations from the review up to that date. Further information can be found on the Defra website.
CITES - Powerpoint presentation key points:
CITES Regulation require Member State to have standardised procedures for
- The introduction into the EU of species listed in Annexes A,B,C and D;
- The export and re-export of these species;
- The monitoring/control of scientific institutions working with endangered species;
- Controlling commercial activity within the EU of species listed in Annexes A and B.
When applying for CITES documentation
- Zoos should leave themselves plenty of time for the paperwork because it could take longer.
- Make sure you get the paperwork before any move takes place because regulations regarding retrospective permits are extremely strict;
- Always make sure that the exporter packs live specimens are according to IATA Regulations.
- Check that the import and export permit match exactly and make sure that Customs stamp, complete and return all paperwork.
- Get to know your case officer – work with them.
Regulations on Ports of entry for live cites specimens are being reviewed to find ways to comply with proposed measures for designated entry and exit points as required by EU law. To do this we need to ensure that the rules align with animal health and Border inspection Posts (BIPs) requirements, and are flexible enough to allow zoo industry to operate and to cater for animal welfare – for example not forcing live specimens to undertake longer journeys that really necessary. We also need to allow exports to take place through wider variety of points as there are currently problems for UK with Jersey/Guernsey and Isle of Man.
Welfare of Animals during Transport - Powerpoint presentation key points:
The new EU Regulation may have an effect on the transport of zoo animals. If journeys are undertaken as part of the zoo’s business this could be considered as ‘economic’. Defra would not consider the transport of animals by zoos, where the animals are taking part in a breeding programme as ‘economic’. The EU Regulation does not provide a definition of ‘economic’ but put simply, we consider ‘economic’ to mean part of a business or trade.
If a particular journey is considered to be ‘economic’, then the following is required:
- Transporter authorisation (if journeys is in excess of 65km app. 40 miles);
- Animal Transport Certificate (all journeys);
- Certificate of competence (if transporting farm livestock, equidae or poultry)
- If wild animals are being carried, documents should indicate that the animals are “wild, timid or dangerous” and it should include written instructions about feeding, watering and any special care.
If the journey is in excess of eight hours, the following additional requirements are necessary:
- Long journey transporter authorisation;
- Long journey competence certificate;
- Vehicle approval (if transporting farm livestock or equidae);
- Evidence of contingency plans.
- Journey logs (for export journeys involving cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and unregistered equidae over eight hours to other Member States and third countries).
The onus is on the transporter to decide whether or not a given journey is economic.
Detailed information and guidance is available on the Defra website.
Full presentation slides can be found on BIAZA website.
These animals may be moved between Member States provided that they meet the requirements of EU Regulation 1739/2005 (PDF Link to EU website). Animals covered by the Regulation which are all mammals (including bats), birds, bees, salmon and trout that used primarily for the purpose of public exhibition or entertainments are subject to harmonised animal health rules. Animals kept for any other primary purpose such as a pet, farm animal or animals in zoos are not covered by the requirements of this Regulation. Further information can be found on the Animal health pages. Form: Application for the Registration of a circus or animal act (PDF 1.3 MB).
A Question and Answer page (PDF 140 KB) is available.
- The Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) (England) (Laboratories, Circuses and Avian Quarantine) Regulations 2007 (Link to the OPSI website).
Many rare or endangered species are subject to additional licensing controls under the European Wildlife Regulations which implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). These are administered in the UK by the Global Wildlife Division of Defra. Any exporters of CITES listed species must obtain a licence before any export takes place.
Information on developments and issues that affect exports of live animals is available in Customer Information Notes (CINs). For further details of current procedures and health documentation requirements, prospective exporters should contact the International Animal Health Division Service Delivery Unit.
Page last modified:
3 February, 2011
Page published: 1 June, 2006