Imports, exports and EU trade of animals and animal products: topical issues

Current issues relating to imports and exports of animals and animal products.

This page provides details on particular issues or changes that importers and exporters may need to be aware of. You can read a collection of all our guidance and forms for importing and exporting live animals or animal products.

Our animal disease monitoring collection covers major, notifiable or new and emerging animal disease outbreaks internationally and in the UK.

Avian influenza (bird flu) in the UK

This section was updated on 24 January 2018.

There is no reason why trade should be affected following the findings of bird flu in wild birds in England in January 2018. This is in line with the rules of the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE). There have been no reports of the virus in commercial birds, and the UK has taken swift, precautionary action to help to prevent this happening.

The UK has declared itself free from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). This is in line with the requirements of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. The Avian influenza: UK Declaration of Freedom from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (PDF, 1.14MB, 6 pages) was published on 13 September 2017 (and is also available on the OIE website).

Our avian influenza (bird flu) guide covers the latest situation and advice to bird keepers on measures to protect against the disease.

Avian influenza (bird flu) outside the UK

This section was updated on 24 January 2018.

Cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) of subtype H5N8 continue to be reported in the EU and within third countries (countries outside the EU) in 2018, in wild birds and domestic poultry. Most of the wild birds affected are waterfowl. Domestic species affected include chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.

Since December 2017 a new strain of HPAI has been detected in wild birds in Northern Europe (specifically, Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland) and one outbreak in commercial birds in the Netherlands.

You can’t import poultry and poultry products into the UK from within disease control zones imposed around confirmed cases of avian flu within other EU countries.

Bluetongue virus in Europe

This section was updated on 6 December 2017.

Several strains of bluetongue virus have been reported in EU Member States and Switzerland. Trade can continue in live cattle and sheep provided they are vaccinated and protected against the following strains of disease:

  • BTV-8 and BTV-4 in France
  • BTV-8 in Switzerland
  • BTV-1 and BTV-4 in Italy
  • BTV-1 in Spain

Before importing bluetongue virus susceptible animals from these areas, you should consider whether to vaccinate your own herd as additional protection. You should also discuss additional guarantees such as a pre-movement test with your private veterinarian and livestock dealer.

If you are moving goats, cervids (deer) or other susceptible ruminants, please contact the APHA Specialist Service Centre in Carlisle about the restrictions.

There are similar restrictions on the trade in germinal products (semen, ova and embryos) of cattle, sheep and goats. Our Imports of live animals and genetic material Importer Information Notes explain these restrictions.

See the latest bluetongue virus in Europe outbreak assessments and the map of restriction zones in place across Europe for more detail.

Our bluetongue guide covers the latest situation, how to spot bluetongue, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.

Chronic wasting disease

This section was updated on 5 December 2017.

Norwegian authorities have reported cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). To control the spread of disease, the following trade restrictions are in place:

  • you can’t import reindeer and other cervid species (deer) from Norway to EU Member States
  • you can’t import any of the following unprocessed products into the UK: deer urine, deer faeces, and lures obtained from deer for use in deer hunting or other deer attracting activities which contain the above animal by-products
  • you can’t import deer products into the UK if they were manufactured in USA, Canada, South Korea and Norway (where CWD is present) or produced from deer products from those countries
  • you can only import products from countries free from CWD under certain conditions

Some areas of Sweden and Finland also have trade restrictions in place for live cervids (deer), because of the risk of spread of this disease through movements of free ranging animals

Our Importer Information Note (ABP IIN 44) explains the ban and the procedure to follow to import processed products.

Lumpy skin disease in Europe

This section was updated on 5 December 2017.

Outbreaks of lumpy skin disease have been confirmed in bovine holdings in Greece and Bulgaria (and other countries are reporting it). Although no outbreaks were reported from these countries this year, restrictions remain in place for a further year until disease free status is restored. We have published Preliminary Outbreak Assessments. To prevent the spread of disease, restrictions have been put in place on movements from the affected areas of:

  • live bovine animals and wild ruminants
  • bovine genetic material
  • fresh meat produced from bovine animals, and meat preparations and meat products produced from such fresh meat
  • milk and dairy products from bovine animals
  • unprocessed animal by-products of bovine animals

You may be able to move animals from the affected areas if certain conditions are met.

Our lumpy skin disease guide covers how to spot lumpy skin disease, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent it.

Crabs to Hong Kong: residue testing

This section was reviewed on 5 December 2016.

Hong Kong authorities have introduced restrictions on the import of brown crabs exported from Anglesey in Wales. We advise that exports of brown crabs, from Anglesey, should not be sent to Hong Kong until the situation is resolved.

Restrictions on trade of agricultural commodities to the Russian Federation

This section was reviewed on 24 January 2018.

The Russian Federation has imposed a ban on the import of a number of agricultural commodities from the whole of the EU including the UK and also the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway.

The ban was imposed on 7 August 2014. Russia has extended the ban until 31 December 2018.

Banned products

The ban covers many agricultural products, raw materials, plants and foodstuffs including most meat, dairy and fish.

If you need to check whether a particular product is affected, please contact us.

Withdrawal of Export Health Certificates

In the light of this, APHA and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland have withdrawn all Export Health Certificates for the animals and animal products affected, for the duration of this ban. This also applies to consignments of these commodities that are transiting through the Russian Federation to another destination, but there may be exceptions so you are advised to check.

Any exporter who intends to send any consignment (including live animals) to the Russian Federation should obtain assurances from importers in the Russian Federation that the consignment will be accepted. If consignments of live animals are blocked at the border of the Russian Federation, re-entry into the UK or any other member state is not permitted under EU law. Exceptions may be considered in specific cases.

You should also see the Department for International Trade’s guide on exporting to Russia.


Contact the Centre for International Trade (CIT) Carlisle for advice about imports and exports to and from Great Britain

Exporters in Northern Ireland should contact:

Published 23 March 2015
Last updated 24 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Avian influenza (bird flu) in the UK section updated: trade unaffected following findings of bird flu in wild birds in England. Avian influenza (bird flu) outside the UK section updated: new strain of HPAI detected in wild birds in Northern Europe.
  2. Bluetongue virus in Europe section added and updated the chronic wasting disease and lumpy skin disease sections.
  3. Avian influenza in the UK section updated: the UK has declared itself free from highly pathogenic avian influenza today.
  4. Updated the guidance on avian influenza in Europe and the UK, lumpy skin disease in Europe, and restrictions on trade of agricultural commodities to the Russian Federation.
  5. Updated in the light of the case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) confirmed in turkeys on a poultry farm near Louth in Lincolnshire on 16 December 2016.
  6. Updated information about avian influenza (bird flu) outside the UK, lumpy skin disease in Europe and chronic wasting disease in Norway.
  7. Added information on the UK becoming officially free of notifiable avian influenza.
  8. Published an update on lumpy skin disease in Bulgaria and updated content under other headings.
  9. Avian influenza (bird flu) section updated: the UK has today declared itself free from highly pathogenic avian influenza.
  10. Updated the section on Avian influenza (bird flu) in the UK.
  11. Updated the section on: Avian influenza (bird flu) outside the UK
  12. Avian Influenza section updated as final cleansing has now been done.
  13. Added new section on Lumpy skin disease in Greece. Removed the section on changes to the import requirements of intermediate products.
  14. We've made a further about to the information about exports of crabs to Hong Kong.
  15. Updated the section dealing with export of live crabs to China and Hong Kong.
  16. Updated to reflect lifting of avian influenza (bird flu) restrictions in Lancashire on 16 August 2015.
  17. Updated Restrictions on trade of agricultural commodities to the Russian Federation as ban has been extended to 2016.
  18. Avian influenza: United Kingdom (UK) notification of regionalisation added.
  19. Added line on outbreak of avian influenza in the commune of Herzlake, Lower Saxony, Germany.
  20. Section on bird flu in the UK updated to reflect a confirmed case at a farm in Lancashire. Page reordered - it now leads with the most recently updated item.
  21. Section on bird flu in the UK updated to reflect a suspect case at a farm in Lancashire.
  22. Amended the following sections: Avian Influenza (AI) outbreaks in the UK: availability of Export Health Certificates; Low Pathogenic Outbreak of Avian Influenza in the UK.
  23. Updated the Live crabs to China: residue testing section.
  24. Added information around horse imports from third countries.
  25. Added information about a new methodology for determining cadmium levels in foods.
  26. Added information about live crab exports to China.
  27. First published.