Other Live Animals

Other Live Animals

The animal health requirements for trade within the EU in live poultry and hatching eggs are laid down in Council Directive 2009/158/EC. This Directive establishes harmonised animal health guarantees needed for trade between EU countries. It does not apply to movements within an individual EU country.

Hence "other live animals" include some ruminants, Camelids (e.g. llamas, alpacas), cats and dogs (for commercial imports only), bees, apes, rabbits and hares, exotic birds, ferrets, mink, foxes, zoo animals and other exotic species. For more information on germinal material, please refer to the Semen, Ova & Embryos web section.

NB: The legislation below does not cover non-commercial movement of pet animals.


Before trade

The following rules must be respected before 'other' animals can be traded within the EU:

The animal health requirements for intra-Union trade in 'other' live animals are laid down in Council Directive 92/65/EEC. This Directive, which has been amended several times, harmonises the rules for intra-Union trade and establishes the animal health guarantees needed for the trade in these animals between the Member States but it does not apply to movements within an individual Member State.

  • The objective of this harmonisation is to ensure that the same requirements are applied for trade between all the Member States thereby ensuring the safe and free circulation of the animals in the EU territory

  • The Directive lays down precise rules (e.g. prohibition of contact with other animals during the travel, cleaning and disinfection of means of transport, etc.) to be respected during the movement of these animals from the holding of origin to the final destination to try to avoid any possible spread of serious diseases in the EU

  • In addition there are rules regarding the health status in relation to animal diseases and provisions for tests to detect these diseases to be carried out by official veterinarians. A holding, a region of a Member State or the whole of a Member State may even be declared officially free from one or more diseases to facilitate trade

  • The Directive also sets out special provisions for the movement of animals between specialised and authorised Bodies, Institutes or Centres. These are defined as establishments that are concerned with either:

    • the display of animals and education to the public e.g. zoos
    • conservation of the species
    • scientific research or breeding of animal for the purposes of such research

Health certificate and traceability

The Directive provides also for harmonised veterinary health certificates in which, prior to dispatch, an official veterinarian attests that the animals fulfil all the requirements for intra-Union trade. This accompanies the animal and the movement must be recorded in TRACES.

NB: Not all species are covered by a completely harmonised veterinary certificate or movement document. In these cases Member States' national rules are applied which must be no less strict than those foreseen in the Directive.

At destination

Spot checks

Because there are no border controls for movements between Member States, non-discriminatory spot checks are carried out en-route and at the destination according to Directive 90/425/EEC, as last amended, to ensure that consignments are in compliance with the guarantees provided by the health certificate.


The TRACES tracking system provides an important tool to ensure compliance because it allows the receiving Member State to verify that the consignment arriving at the destination corresponds to that specified in the original accompanying veterinary certificate from the country of origin. This also allows a Member State to carry out random checks at destination if it so wishes.

Animal health (birds)

A working document on animal health conditions for the participation of birds in international exhibitions in the EU was agreed by the Member States at the meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 6 September 2011.


Certain animal health requirements apply to non-EU countries before they import 'other' animals to the EU, and specific ones for the import of some species.

For most 'other' species, fully harmonised EU animal health requirements exist.

EU countries may establish animal health certificates according to national rules for the import of some species, if harmonised rules do not exist yet.

There is specific legislation on the animal health conditions in animal health certificates that accompany the animal during export.

EU legislation on imports of "other animals":

  • Regulation EU/206/2010 lists non-EU countries authorised to export certain animals and fresh meat to the EU, and the veterinary certification requirements

  • Directive 91/496/EEC - veterinary checks of animals entering the EU from non-EU countries

  • Directive 92/65/EEC - animal health requirements for trade in and imports to the EU of 'other' live animals

    Key points of Directive 92/65/EEC:

    • Harmonisation - the same import principles apply across the EU, preventing the entry of animals with infectious diseases
    • Animal health requirements before authorising imports
    • Organisation and competence of veterinary services
    • Health certificates that all animals must have
    • Conditions for certain infectious diseases

Veterinary checks

Live animals entering the EU are inspected at Border Inspection Posts. Official veterinarians examine the animal and its documentation to ensure they satisfy EU requirements. If an animal enters the EU with an EU national certificate, it is that country that organises the veterinary check. Please refer to Decision 2009/821/EC on approved border inspection posts and inspection rules for veterinary experts.

Exotic birds

Controls in non-EU countries exporting birds other than poultry to the EU prevent infected birds from entering the EU. Please refer to Regulation (EU) 139/2013 on import conditions for birds other than poultry.