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Importation rules for porcine animals solely govern the introduction of porcine animals into the EU from third countries.

The following rules must be respected before pigs can be imported into the EU:

1. Porcine 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 porcine animals.

  • The objective of this harmonisation is to make sure that the same principles for importation of pigs 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 72/462/EEC 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 pigs. The most important aspects are:

    • the legislation of the third country.

    • the health status of livestock, of other domestic animals and wild life.

    • the regularity and rapidity of information on infectious animal diseases provided by the third country to the Commission and the world animal health organisation ( OIE).

    • the country's rules on the prevention 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. rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease, African and classical swine fever etc).

  • Under Directive 72/462/EEC 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 or part of it is initially authorised to export pigs 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 pigs as laid down in Council Decision 79/542/EEC pdf. For a third country wanting to export pigs 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 pigs 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 porcine animals entering the EU.

The animal health conditions and vet certification for imports of porcine animals for slaughter, breeding and production are in Regulation EU 206/2010 together with a list of authorised non-EU countries and a description of approved country regions where relevant.

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 porcine 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.

 
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