Exporting live animals or animal products to non-EU countries

Knowing the regulations in the destination country, getting an existing export certificate issued, and creating a new certificate.

If you’re sending live animals or animal products to non-EU countries, it’s considered exporting.

If you’re sending them to other EU countries, or Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland, it’s considered EU trade.

Before you export

Before you send animals or animal products outside the EU, you should talk to the importer who’s receiving your goods to find out:

  • whether you need an import permit
  • if your consignment must meet any other requirements in the destination country

You can get advice from other exporters on the Open To Export forum, or from a UK Trade and Investment office.

You should also check our topical issues page for current issues relating to imports and exports of animals and animal products.

Follow Animal and Plant Health Agency on Twitter for latest news and information.

Getting an Export Health Certificate (EHC)

In most cases, you must get an Export Health Certificate (EHC) to send consignments of live animals or animal products to non-EU countries.

In many cases, there will already be an EHC for the type of consignment you’re sending and where you’re sending it to.

Check the List of EHCs that are available (PDF, 305KB, 58 pages) to see if the EHC you need already exists and is available for issue.

If you want to get an idea of what you’ll need to do for your consignment, or whether you can meet the import requirements of the destination country, you can look at the specimen copies of EHCs. These only cover some of the products for which EHCs are available, specifically, livestock, their germplasm or meat. The specimens are only for reference purposes.

It’s your responsibility to check that your EHC matches the certification requirements of authorities in the destination country, and any other requirements they may have.

Getting an existing EHC issued

If the certificate you want already exists, and is available for issue, you will need to contact the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle and ask them to send you an application form and a copy of the EHC.

You should then complete the application form and the EHC as fully as you can and send it back to the same APHA office.

You can also get your official veterinarian (OV) to complete the EHC.

Getting your EHC signed

Check the Notes For Guidance that come with your EHC to find out if you need to get it signed by a local authority inspector or official veterinarian.

Talk to your local authority to get your EHC signed by an inspector.

To find an official veterinarian (OV), speak to your local veterinary practice.

If there isn’t one working there, contact the OV Appointments and Training Team.

When you apply for an Export Health Certificate, you must nominate an OV.

Your OV can carry out any examination, inspection, testing, sampling or treatment to check if a consignment meets the requirements of the destination country.

Creating a new certificate

If an EHC is not available

In some cases, there won’t be an available EHC that covers the type of consignment you want to send and the destination you’re sending it to.

This could be because:

  • the EHC you want is on hold, for example, due to a trade ban enforced by the destination country
  • there hasn’t been any previous demand for an EHC for the product you’re exporting to the destination country
  • negotiations for the EHC you need are ongoing (agreeing new EHCs can take years, in some cases, or stall due to trade barriers)

If the EHC you want doesn’t exist, you should talk to your importer to find out about import conditions in the country you want to export to.

You should send any officially-issued import conditions to the APHA Centre for International Trade Carlisle.

The APHA will then pass the details on to Defra, who will consider negotiations for any new EHC.

How EHC negotiations work

Defra industry partner groups will usually decide which EHC negotiations to begin first, for all commodities apart from fish and non-commercial animals or animal products.

These partner groups are known as Export Certification User Groups (ECUGs).

You can be part of this process by joining a trade association that’s a member of the relevant ECUG.

Find out more about the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP) for livestock, germplasm and meat.

For consignments travelling through the EU to a non-EU country

If your consignment will travel through the EU on the way to a non-EU country, you may need both an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) and an EHC.

Find out how to get an ITAHC.

You should look at each stage of the journey and make sure your consignment has the right certification for each.

Find out more about moving animals within the EU.

Moving horses and ponies

Getting an export welfare declaration

If you’re moving horses and ponies into or out of the EU, you must print and complete an export welfare declaration form for your consignment, unless you have an exemption from the Secretary of State.

Download an export welfare form for horses taller than 147cm (14.2 hands).

Download an export welfare declaration form for ponies or horses that are shorter than 147cm (14.2 hands)

You must make sure the pilot of the aircraft or master of the vessel that’s carrying your consignment has a copy of the export welfare declaration.

When you don’t need an export welfare declaration

You don’t need an export declaration if you’re:

  • moving horses or ponies from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man
  • moving horses from Great Britain to the Republic of Ireland
  • moving horses by direct flight to countries outside of Europe

Thoroughbred horses don’t need an export declaration if a steward or secretary of the Jockey Club certifies that:

  • they arrived in Great Britain no more than one month before the date of shipment, for the purpose of being in a race
  • they’re being shipped for a race or for training
  • they’re being shipped to be used for breeding

Horse passports

You must get a horse passport for every horse you own.

If you’re exporting horses, their keeper or transporter must have each horse’s passport with them at all times.

You can be fined up to £5000 if one of your horses does not have a valid horse passport.

Exporting endangered species

There are more than 25,000 endangered species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

It covers plants and animal and their parts and derivatives.

If you’re exporting an endangered species, you may need to apply for a CITES permit before the export takes place.

Fill out this form to apply for a CITES permit.

Find out more about CITES, including the species that are on the CITES list.

Display, laboratory, and research animals

The Balai Directive sets out the regulations for exporting display, laboratory and research animals, as well as those used in conservation or education programmes.

Exporting poultry

Before you export poultry, check the wording of your EHC to see if you need to become a member of the poultry health scheme (PHS).

Exporting bees

From England and Wales

For bee export certificates from England and Wales, contact the National Bee Unit.

From Scotland

For bee exports from Scotland, contact Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).

Exporting live fish or other aquatic products

From England and Wales

If you’re exporting live fish from England and Wales, contact the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquacultural Science (CEFAS) to get certification.

From Scotland

If you’re exporting live fish from Scotland, contact Marine Scotland to get the certification.

Exporting from Northern Ireland

Find out how you must export live animals from Northern Ireland.

Exporting from Jersey

Find out how you must export live animals from Jersey.

Exporting from Guernsey

Find out how you must export live animals from Guernsey.

Exporting from Isle of Man

Find out how you must export live animals from the Isle of Man.