The number of
equine animals or 'equidae' in an
enlarged European Union is small, probably not
many more than 6 millions, compared to hundreds
of million of other livestock. To keep, breed
and use equidae, and first and foremost horses,
has largely remained labour intensive, thus
constituting a source of income for a part of
the farming community.
However, equidae and
in particular horses are very mobile compared
to other livestock, and in many cases they
represent as an individual an enormous economic
and emotional value. The reoccurrence of major
equine infectious diseases which, if they had
ever occurred, were successfully eradicated in
Member States would seriously compromise the
rational development of equidae production and
intra-Union trade in such animals.
Definition and general
animal health conditions
The animal health
conditions governing the movement of equidae
(equine animals) between Member States and
their importation from third countries are laid
This Directive first of all provides the
Equine animals or equidae:
odd-toed ungulates, whether wild or domesticated, i.e.
horses, donkeys, including Asian wild asses, zebras and their crossings.
Categories of equidae:
registered equidae, which are registered in studbooks
established in accordance with
Directive 90/427/EEC laying down the
zootechnical and genealogical conditions
governing intra-Union trade in equidae,
or with international organisations
equidae for slaughter
, which are destined to be
transported to a slaughterhouse, and
equidae for breeding and
production, which are all the other equidae
not defined as registered equidae or
equidae for slaughter.
obligation of keepers to notify to the
authorities any suspect of eight specified
diseases. Equidae moving on the territory
of a Member State or traded between Member
States must come from areas free of
horse sickness and premises free of major
equine diseases, such as glanders and dourine,
but also equine infectious anaemia and any type
of equine encephalomyelitis.
As of 1 July 2009, equidae must be identified in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 504/2008.
In intra-Union trade non-registered equidae must be accompanied by a veterinary certificate and. registered equidae by the attestation which does not specify the destination of the movement, thus allowing, for example, participation in consecutive competitions at different places during the 10 days period of validity of the certificate.
Before a third country or part of it is authorised to export horses into the EU, the Commission's Food and Veterinary Office
(FVO) carries out a mission to verify that the animal health guarantees in regard to
equidae in a third country, as provided for in Directive 2009/156/EC, are properly fulfilled.
Third country or region thereof may only export equidae into the EU, if it is added, based on the principles contained in
Council Directive 2009/156/EEC and on the results of the
FVO mission, to the list of third countries or regions thereof authorised for the export of live equidae their semen, ova and embryos.
The list is laid down in Commission Decision 2004/211/EC
specifying the sanitary group to which the exporting country or region thereof
is assigned in order to use the established health certificates.
Imports may be of
three different types and the animal health
conditions and the veterinary certification are
laid down as follows:
(i) temporary admission for less than 90 days of registered horses, (Decision 92/260/EEC)
(ii) re-entry of registered horses for racing, competition and cultural events after temporary export, as a rule 30 days, to approved third countries, (Decision 93/195/EEC)
(iii) imports of:
- equidae for slaughter, respectively with or without passing through a marshalling centre (Decision 93/196/EEC), and
- registered equidae and equidae for breeding and production (Decision 93/197/EEC).
The import conditions
are based on country's freedom from
horse sickness and Venezuelan equine
encephalomyelitis, glanders and dourine. In the
stomatitis and equine viral arteritis
country-freedom may be compensated by absence
of disease on the holding of origin and testing
Depending on the
prevailing risks of disease introduction
through imports, the third countries approved
for export are assigned to sanitary groups for
each of which additional residence, quarantine,
test and vaccination requirements are
specified. For example, countries that had a
history of African horse sickness use the same
model certificate and are in a distinct
sanitary group to countries which are at risk
of Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis.
Live animals entering the European Union are
inspected at a Border Inspection Post (BIP)
(as listed in
Commission Decision 2009/821/EC
of 28 September 2009 where Member States' official
veterinarians ensure they fulfil all the
requirements provided for in the EU
of 15 July
1991 lays down the principles governing the
organisation of veterinary checks on animals
entering the EU from third
Where equidae transit the European Union on
their way from one third country to another,
Commission Decision 2010/57/EU
lays down the animal health conditions and
veterinary certification, which are based on
the respective requirements for temporary
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].