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Food Safety

Movements within the Union

To prevent spreading of animal diseases, many aspects of keeping and moving bovine animals are regulated by Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council (Animal Health Law) on transmissible animal diseases.

Before and during dispatch

Regulation 2019/2035 lays down rules for establishments keeping terrestrial animals and for the traceability of those animals within the Union. As a general rule, establishments and transporters have to be registered by the competent authority. Only bovines that originate from a registered or approved establishment can be moved to another Member state.

The animal health requirements for movements within the Union of bovine animals are laid down in Regulation (EU) 2020/688. These rules and risk mitigation measures ensure that movements of animals do not pose a significant risk of spreading diseases that affect human or animal health.

There are biosecurity rules for the transport of animals: animals must not be able to escape and excrements must not fall out, visual inspection must be possible. Cleaning and disinfection has to take place as soon as possible after transport.

Animals should be moved directly from the establishment of origin to the destination. By way of derogation, they may be assembled in establishments approved by the competent authority (Article 94(1) (a) of Regulation (EU) 2016/429 (AHL)).

Operators may only move bovine animals to another Member State if Article 10 of Regulation (EU) 2020/688 is fulfilled (e.g. health guarantees for certain diseases, i.a.). Movements to a zone with disease-free status or with eradication programmes have to fulfil specific conditions (Art. 11 and 12). Bovine animals moved to another member state for immediate slaughter have to comply with the requirements of Article 14 of this Regulation.

An establishment, a zone or the whole territory of a Member State may reach disease-free status to facilitate trade in accordance with the requirements set out in Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/689.

The lists of Member States and regions declared free of certain diseases, or under an eradication programme, such as bovine tuberculosis, bovine brucellosis or rabies (and other) are set out in Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/620. For information purposes, the maps of Member States and regions thereof with disease-free status and approved eradication programmes can also be consulted.

An animal health certificate (Regulation (EU) 2021/403) in which, prior to dispatch, an official veterinarian attests that the animals fulfil all the requirements for movements between member states has to be created in TRACES NT. Operators can create this document by themselves, in order to present it to the official veterinarian. The certificate accompanies the animals during the whole tranpsort. More information about the TRACES database is available here.

At destination

Refers to Art 127 of Regulation (EU) 2016/429 (AHL).

Operators of establishments and slaughterhouses receiving kept terrestrial animals from another Member State must check the animals, their correct identification and if documentation is complete. If they perceive any irregularity, they have to inform the competent authority of the place of destination. In this case animals must be isolated until the competent authority advises how to proceed.

Because there are no border controls for movements between the Member States, non-discriminatory spot checks are carried out en-route and at the destination according to the Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on official controls (OCR) to ensure that consignments are in compliance with the guarantees provided by the animal health certificate.

Entry into the EU

Animal health

Bovine animals must fulfil the animal health requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council (‘Animal Health Law’). Part V of that Regulation establishes the general animal health conditions for the entry into the EU of bovine animals.

  • The objective of this harmonisation is to make sure that the same principles for entry into the EU of bovine animals are applied in all the Member States and prevent from entering the EU of the animals carrying infectious diseases that are dangerous to livestock or humans.
  • The general animal health requirements on which entry into the EU is based and the requirements for a non-EU country to be authorised for the entry into the EU of bovine animals are based on:
    • the health status of livestock, of other animals and wildlife;
    • the legislation of the non-EU country;
    • the country's rules on the prevention and control of animal diseases;
    • the organisation, structure, competence and power of the veterinary services;
    • membership of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH);
    • the regularity and rapidity of information on infectious animal diseases provided by the non-EU country to the Commission and the WOAH.
  • Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/692 lays down specific animal health requirements for non-EU countries supplementing the measures laid down in Part II of the AHL. These include i.e. freedom from diseases (e.g. foot and mouth disease), residency periods in the country of origin, requirements for establishments of origin, health requirements for the animals and certification.
  • It is possible to regionalise a non-EU 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 for the entry into the EU.

Authorised countries ('listed countries')

Based on the principles contained in the Animal Health Law (Regulation (EU) 2016/429), the specific requirements in Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/692 and the results of Commission’s audit carried out to verify that all the criteria are properly fulfilled, the non-EU country may be authorised for the entry into the EU of bovine animals. This requires inclusion on the list of non-EU countries or territories, or zones thereof established in Annex II to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/404.

Entry into the Union of bovine animals is only authorised from those non-EU countries where a specific model of an animal health/official certificate is foreseen in column 5 of the table in Part 1 of Annex II to that Implementing Regulation. For bovine animals, a non-EU country can be listed for the entry into the Union of (see Part 1 to 3 of Annex II to Implementing Regulation 2021/404):

  • animals for further keeping under model BOV-X, and/or;
  • animals intended for slaughter under model BOV-Y.

Disease assessment

Once listed in Annex II to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/404, a non-EU country or territory, or zone thereof is approved in principle for entry into the EU. However, before entry into the EU of bovine animals, further steps are necessary: An assessment of the specific disease situation and, accordingly, additional requirements to minimise potential disease risks are set. These are laid down in Parts 3 and 4 of Annex II to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/404, and include:

  • specific conditions (column 6), e.g. certain derogations from the animal identification requirements;
  • specific conditions (column 7) based on the animal health status in a listed non-EU country, indicating recognition by the EU of freedom from certain animal diseases in those countries.

If additional requirements are necessary, the official veterinarian in the exporting non-EU country must ensure that the relevant sections in the animal health/official certificate are completed.

Official certificates

An animal health/official certificate must accompany bovine animals being presented for entry into the EU. The relevant models of those certificates (model BOV-X for bovine animals for further keeping, and model BOV-Y for bovine animals intended for slaughter) are set out in Chapters 1 and 2 of Annex II to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/403.

Basic information on the non-EU country of origin, the place of destination and the identification of animals in the establishment must be included in the animal health/certificate. It also contains an attestation to guarantee that the non-EU country complies with certain public health requirements including that the animals are from holdings that are free from certain zoonotic diseases (brucellosis, anthrax and rabies), have not received certain pharmaceutical treatments and hormones and comply with certain requirements in relation to BSE.

An official veterinarian in the authorised non-EU country has to sign the animal health/certificate to attest that all the relevant conditions in the certificate are met. The certification must accompany the animals en route to the EU and presented at entry into the EU in an approved EU Border Control Post.

Border inspections

Live animals entering the Union are inspected at a Border Control Post. Regulation (EU) 2019/2130 provides detailed rules for official controls at Border Control Posts on animals entering the Union from non-EU countries.
Animals which do not comply with the Union's health requirements cannot enter or transit the Union.