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Importation of Ovine and Caprine Animals

Importation rules for ovine and caprine animals solely govern the introduction of ovine and caprine animals into the EU from third countries.

The following rules must be respected before ovine and caprine animals can be imported into the EU:

1. Ovine and caprine animals must fulfil the animal health requirements laid down in Council Directive 72/462/EEC pdf of 12 December 1972. This Directive, which has been amended several times, harmonises the rules and establishes the general animal health conditions for the import into the territory of the Community of ovine and caprine animals.

2. Before a third country or part of it is initially authorised to export sheep and goats into the EU, the Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carries out a mission to verify that all the criteria provided for in Directive 72/462/EC are properly fulfilled.

3. Based on the principles contained in Directive 72/462/EEC and on the results of the FVO mission, the third country may be added to the list of third countries authorised for the export of sheep and goats as laid down in Council Decision 79/542/EEC pdf. For a third country wanting to export ovine and caprine animals to the EU it must be listed in this Decision.

4. When a third country or part thereof has been listed in Council Decision 79/452/EEC, then it is approved in principle for export to the EU. However, further steps are needed before exports of live sheep ands goats can take place. An assessment of the specific disease situation is carried out. Special conditions may be required to minimise potential disease risks. These conditions will be laid down in specific decisions and are reflected in the requirements laid down in the veterinary animal health certificate, which must accompany all ovine and caprine animals entering the EU.

In the case of ovine and caprine animals for slaughter, breeding and production , the animal health conditions and veterinary certification for imports are laid down in Commission Decision 93/198/EEC pdf of 17 February 1993, as last amended. This includes specific conditions under which imported animals may be recognised as fulfilling equivalent Brucellosis-free status as the EU flock of destination.

The third countries from which Member States can authorise imports of sheep and goats are listed in Commission Decision 97/232/EC pdf. A description of the approved region of the country is also given where appropriate. The Decision also recognises those third countries that satisfy the requirements for brucellosis-free status.
(However, as from 1st May 2004, the model animal health certificate for ovine and caprine imports will be consolidated within Council Decision 79/452/EC (and the above two Decisions will be revoked)

5. Live animals entering the Community are inspected at a Border Inspection Post (BIP) (as listed in Commission Decision 2001/881/EC pdf of 7 December 2001) where Member States' official veterinarians ensure they are healthy and fulfil all the requirements provided for in the European legislation. ( Council Directive 91/496/EEC pdf of 15 July 1991 lays down the principles governing the organisation of veterinary checks on animals entering the Community from third countries).

6. It should be noted that in order to import live ovine and caprine animals, third countries must also comply with certain public health requirements . For example, a country is required to have an approved ' residue' plan.

7. Animals of a lower Community health status cannot transit the Community.

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] pdf.