- Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency
- Part of:
- Guidance on importing and exporting live animals or animal products
- 11 March 2015
The animals, semen and embryos covered by the Balai Directive and how to move them in the EU, the UK or to and from non-EU countries.
If you’re moving traditional livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, or poultry), animals that aren’t intended for display or conservation, or pet dogs, cats and ferrets that meet pet travel rules, you’ll need to use the following guidance:
- moving live animals and animal products as part of EU trade
- importing live animals and animal products from non-EU countries
- exporting live animals and animal products to non-EU countries
- pet travel rules
Otherwise, you may have to follow the rules of the Balai Directive as explained in this guidance - talk to your vet if you’re unsure which rules apply to the animals you want to move.
Animals, semen and embryos covered by Balai
You must follow this guidance if you’re moving the following animals:
- more than 5 pets per traveller in your party - or any pets that can’t be joined by their owner within 5 days
- dogs, cats and ferrets that are being rehomed or don’t meet pet travel rules
- simian primates, monkeys and apes
- prosimian primates, eg lemurs, bushbabies, lorises, aye ayes and tarsiers
- ungulates (hooved animals) that aren’t farm animals, eg llamas, alpacas, antelopes, camels, wild pigs, tapirs, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, hippos
- captive birds and poultry for exhibitions, shows, and contests which aren’t covered by poultry or bird legislation
- honey bees
- jackals, foxes, wolves, African wild dogs, hyaenas
- bears, eg polar, black, brown, grizzly, pandas or giant pandas
- raccoons, coatis, and other new world procyonids
- otters, martens, polecats, badgers, skunks, wolverines
- non-domestic cats like pumas, cheetahs, lions, tigers and leopards
- bats, eg vampire bats, flying foxes, fruit bats, gliders
- flying lemurs and flying squirrels
- marsupials, eg koalas, kangaroos, wombats or wallabies
- possums, bandicoots, bilbys, quolls and Tasmanian devils
- anteaters, sloths, armadillos
- shrews, moles and hedgehogs
- rabbits and hares
- rodents, eg gophers, squirrels, mice, rats, hamsters, voles, beavers, gerbils
You must also follow this guidance if you’re moving semen or embryos that aren’t bovine or porcine.
You can’t import any live ungulates (horses, cattle, giraffes, camels, deer, hippopotamuses) or whales and dolphins into the UK from non-EU countries, unless you have an agreement from
- Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) if you’re in England, Scotland or Wales
- the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) if you’re in Northern Ireland
Check the importer information notes to find out the latest information about importing live animals semen or embryos under the Balai Directive.
Importing, exporting and EU trade
If you move animals from an EU country to a non-EU country, this is considered exporting.
If you move animals into an EU country from a non-EU country, this is considered importing.
If you move animals from one EU country to another, this is considered EU trade.
Get an animal health certificate
You must have an animal health certificate to trade any live animals, birds, bees, plus the ova, embryos and semen of these animals.
You must make sure that animals or germinal product travel with their health certificates.
You can find template certificates in Annex E of the Balai Directive, part 1, 2 and 3.
You must ask your vet to do each of the following:
- inspect the animal, semen or embryos before they’re moved
- complete the health certificates with the EU Trade Notification System (TRACES)
Before the move happens, the vet should also:
They can find out how to do this using the TRACES support documents on the Animal and Plant Health Agency vet gateway.
Approval and registration
Whether you need to get your holding registered or approved depends on the animals you want to move and the sites you want to send them to or receive them from.
To get your holding registered or approved you need to contact:
If you don’t do this, your holding is considered unregistered.
Animals that registered holdings can trade
If your holding is registered, you can only trade the following animals, and only with registered or unregistered holdings in EU member states:
- ungulates that aren’t livestock
- birds that aren’t commercial poultry
- rabbits and hares
- dogs, cats and ferrets that aren’t pets
You can’t trade with approved holdings.
You need to put rabies-susceptible animals into quarantine.
How to register your holding
To register your holding, complete form EC3163 and send it to:
- your local APHA office if you’re in England, Scotland or Wales
- your local DARD direct office, if you’re in Northern Ireland
You must run your holding based on the conditions set out on the form.
You’ll be given a registration number which you’ll need to use on your animal health certificates.
Moving animals from registered or unregistered holdings
If your holding is registered, you can send animals from the UK to either a registered or unregistered holding in another EU member state.
You can also send them to an approved holding, unless they are carnivores or primates.
If your holding is registered, you can bring animals into the UK from another registered holding in an EU member state.
To do this in England, Wales or Scotland contact the APHA.
Contact your local DARD direct office if you’re in Northern Ireland.
They’ll tell you the requirements you need to follow - these depend on the animal and the country of origin but can include:
- testing for avian influenza, tuberculosis, equine infectious anaemia, brucella or other diseases
- putting the animal into rabies quarantine
If your holding is unregistered, you can only bring in the following animals from registered or approved holdings in EU member states:
- rabbits and hares
- cats, dogs and ferrets that aren’t pets
Unregistered holdings can’t trade in carnivores or primates.
Animals that approved holdings can trade
If your holding is approved, you can trade carnivores or primates ,semen or embryos as well as the rest of the animals covered by Balai.
Approved holdings must only take in animals from other approved holdings - see a list of approved UK holdings.
How to get your holding approved
To get your holding approved, complete form EC3164 and send it to your regional veterinary lead (RVL).
To find your RVL in England, Scotland and Wales contact your local APHA office.
Contact your local DARD direct office to find your RVL if you’re in Northern Ireland.
You also must have your holding inspected by an animal health veterinary officer - APHA or DARD will arrange this.
The inspector will check your holding to make sure that it has:
- secure boundaries separating it from the surrounding area, eg walls, fences or other barriers
- equipment, facilities and staff to catch, confine and isolate animals
- quarantine facilities where you can isolate and test animals that come from non-approved holdings
- a surveillance programme for incoming animals that’s been agreed with your vet
- a clean and separated facility for carrying out post-mortems
- a system for disposing of carcasses that’s been agreed with your vet
You also must make sure you:
- keep records of animals’ age, sex, species, blood tests, and diseases
- employ an official veterinarian - contact your local APHA office or your DARD direct office to find one
You’ll be given an approval number to use on your animal health certificates.
Moving animals from approved holdings to registered holdings
If you want to move animals from an approved holding to a registered holding, you must contact either:
- the APHA if you’re in England, Scotland or Wales
- your local DARD direct office if you’re in Northern Ireland
Re-inspection for approved holdings
If your holding is approved, it must pass an annual re-inspection, carried out by a whole-time veterinary officer (WTVO) - they’ll check it still meets the approval conditions.
It’s your responsibility to make sure your holding is annually re-inspected and re-approved, but the WTVO will usually contact you to arrange this.
When approval gets suspended
If your approval is removed you’ll no longer be able to trade animals with other approved holdings.
Your regional veterinary laboratory (RVL) will temporarily suspend your holding’s approval if they find cases of:
- any notifiable disease
- viral enteritis or aleutian disease in mink
- tuberculosis in apes and non-domestic cats
- European foulbrood, varroasis or acariasis in bees
- myxomatosis, viral haemorraghic disease, tularaemia in rabbits and hares
Breaking approval conditions
The RVL can also suspend your approval if your holding no longer meets any one of the approval conditions.
How long suspensions last
The length of time the RVL suspends your approval for depends on the reason for the suspension.
You’ll be given time to fix the problem - if you don’t do this the RVL may withdraw your approval.
When approval gets withdrawn
If you can’t prove to the RVL that your holding has fixed the problem which led to suspension, your approval may be withdrawn.
Approval for a holding will always be suspended before it’s withdrawn.
Licenses you may need
If your holding is approved or registered, you may still need licenses.
Dangerous wild animals
You must apply for a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 if you keep:
- wild cats
- wild dogs or wolves
- wild boar
- marsupials, eg kangaroos, wallabies, wombats
If you’re moving endangered species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES), you’ll need a permit from APHA.
The APHA will decide whether to issue a permit based on the endangered status of the animals you’re bringing in and where they’re coming from.
Bringing in rabies-susceptible animals
Importing ungulates from non-EU countries
If you want to import ungulates (hooved mammals) from non-EU countries, talk to either:
Published: 11 March 2015