The importation rules for bovine animals solely govern the introduction of bovine animals into the EU from third countries.
The following rules must be respected before bovine animals can be imported into the EU:
1. Bovine animals must fulfil the animal health requirements laid down in Council Directive 2004/68/EC of 26 April 2004. This Directive harmonises the rules and establishes the general animal health conditions for the import into the territory of the Union of bovine animals.
- The objective of this harmonisation is to make sure that the same principles for importation of bovine animals are applied in all the Member States and prevent animals from entering EU territory carrying infectious diseases that are dangerous for livestock or humans.
- Directive 2004/68/EC describes the animal health principles on which importation is based, and the requirements to be fulfilled by a third country to be authorised to export bovine animals. The most important aspects are:
- the legislation of the third country.
- the health status of livestock, of other domestic animals and wildlife.
- membership of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
- the regularity and rapidity of information on infectious animal diseases provided by the third country to the Commission and the OIE.
- the animal health requirements for the production, manufacture, handling, storage and dispatch of products of animal origin.
- the country's rules on the prevent and control of animal diseases.
- the organisation, structure, competence and power of the veterinary services.
- In addition, other more specific conditions are laid down in this Directive as regards certain infectious diseases. For example, third countries have to be free from the most important diseases (e.g. foot and mouth disease and Rinderpest).
- Under Directive 2004/68/EC it is possible to regionalise a country. This means that depending on the animal health situation and the guarantees offered by that country, only a part of its territory may be authorised to export to the EU.
2. Before a third country, territory or part of it is authorised to export bovine animals into the EU, the Commission inspection service of the health and Consumers Directorate General, DG SANCO (FVO - Food and Veterinary Office, located in Grange – Ireland) carries out a mission to verify that all the criteria provided for in Directive 2004/68/EC are properly fulfilled.
3.Based on the principles contained in Council Directive 2004/68/EC and on the results of the FVO mission, the third country, territory or part thereof may be added to the list of third countries, territories or parts thereof authorised for the export of bovine animals as laid down in Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010, as last amended. Imports of domestic bovine animals shall only be authorised from those third countries, territories or parts thereof where a specific model of veterinary certificate is foreseen in Part 1 of Annex I of that Regulation (column 4). For domestic bovine animals, a third country, territory or part thereof can be listed for the import of:
- animals for breeding and production under certificate Bov-X, and/or
- animals for immediate slaughter after importation under certificate Bov-Y
4. When a third country, territory or part thereof has been listed in Regulation (EU) No. 206/2010, then it is approved in principle for export to the EU. However, further steps are needed before exports of live domestic bovine animals can take place. An assessment of the specific disease situation is carried out and if necessary, additional requirements may be requested to minimise potential disease risks. These are laid down in Part 1 of Annex I of Regulation (EU) No. 206/2010, and include:
- Supplementary guarantees (column 5) Depending on the health status of the third country in relation to bluetongue and epizootic-haemorrhagic disease, additional health guarantees may be required before animals can be imported into the EU. When it is necessary for a third country to fulfil these supplementary guarantees, it is indicated by an 'A' in column 5.
- Specific conditions (column 6) These give specific requirements based on the animal and public health status in a listed third country, and indicate when additional health guarantees are required by particular Member States (e.g. freedom for IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis)), or where a third country, territory or part thereof is recognised as being disease free, and hence where animal and public health requirements can be less stringent.
When additional requirements are necessary, the official veterinary in the exporting third country must ensure that the relevant sections are completed in the veterinary health certificate.
5. Bovine animals being presented for entry into the EU must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate. The relevant certificates for bovines (certificate BOV-X for animals for breeding and production, and certificate BOV-Y for animals for immediate slaughter) are laid down in Part 2 of Annex I to Regulation (EU) No. 206/2010. Basic information on the third country of origin, the place of destination and the identification of animals in the consignment must be included in the certificate. It also contains:
- a public health attestation to guarantee that the third country complies with certain public health requirements including that the animals are from holdings that are free from certain zoonotic diseases (brucellosis, anthrax and rabies), have not received certain pharmaceutical treatments and hormones and confirm to certain requirements in relation to BSE.
- an animal health attestation to guarantee that the animals, and/or the herd of origin are free from certain diseases, that the animals are healthy and that their underlying health status does not to present a risk to Union livestock, and that the animals have been inspected prior to movement. If appropriate, conformity to additional supplementary guarantees should be indicated if required.
- an animal transport attestation to signify that the welfare standards laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004, as last amended, including as regards feeding and watering, have been complied with, and that the animals are fit to travel.
An official veterinarian in the authorised third country must sign the certificate to attest that all the relevant conditions in the certificate have been met. The certification must accompany the animals en-route to the EU and when they are presented for entry into the EU at an approved EU Border Inspection Post (BIP) (see 7 below).
6. It should be noted that in order to import live bovine animals, third countries must also comply with certain public health requirements. For example, a country is required to have an approved "residue" plan.
7. Live animals entering the Union are inspected at a Border Inspection Post (BIP) (as listed in Commission Decision 2009/821/EC of 28 September 2009, as last amended) where Member States' official veterinarians ensure they fulfil all the requirements provided for in the EU legislation. (Council Directive 91/496/EEC of 15 July 1991, as last amended, lays down the principles governing the organisation of veterinary checks on animals entering the Union from third countries).
8. Importers must complete relevant sections of a common veterinary entry document (CVED) prior to entry into the EU. For live animals from third countries, the CVED is laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 282/2004 of 18 February 2004, as last amended, and the relevant information must be sent, either manually or electronically via the TRACES system, to the border inspection post of entry at least one working day before the expected arrival of the animal(s).
The CVED provides a standardised format for documentation relating to declaration and checks for live animals arriving into the Union so that data on imported consignments can be properly managed and processed within TRACES, the EU's integrated veterinary traceability system. To use the TRACES application, please visit https://sanco.cec.europa.eu/traces. Online training is provided at http://www.traces-cbt.net. To learn more about TRACES or for further information please contact your local competent veterinary authority within the EU.
9. Animals of a lower that Union's health status cannot transit the Union.
A summary providing ' General guidance for third country authorities on procedures to be followed when importing live animals and animal products into the EU' can be found [ HERE] Updated 02-03-2010.