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Food Safety

Captive birds and racing pigeons

Movements within the Union and entry into the EU

Entry into the EU

Captive birds are defined in Art 4 (10) of the Regulation (EU) 2016/429 (Animal Health Law - AHL).

Animal health

Captive birds must fulfil the animal health requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/429. Part V (Articles 229 to 243) of this Regulation establishes the general animal health conditions for the entry into the territory of the Union, which 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
  • the regularity and rapidity of information on infectious animal diseases provided by the non-EU country to the European Commission and the World animal health organisation (OIE).

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/692 lays down specific animal health requirements for Non-EU countries supplementing the measures laid down in the Animal Health Law (AHL). These include requirements related to infection with Newcastle disease virus, highly pathogenic avian influenza or in the case of psittacidae (parrots) avian chlamydiosis, residency periods in the country of origin, requirements for establishments of origin, health requirements for the animals and certification.

Authorised countries ('listed countries')

Captive birds can only be introduced into the EU from those non-EU countries which are on the list of authorised non-EU countries laid down in Annex VI to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/404, based on the principles contained in the animal health law (Regulation (EU) 2016/429), on the specific requirements in Regulation (EU) 2020/692 and on the results of an audit.

Once listed, an assessment of the specific disease situation and, accordingly, additional requirements to minimise potential disease risks are set for each authorised non EU country. These are laid down in Part 3 and 4 of Annex VI to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/404, and include: specific conditions depending on the health status of the non-EU Country in relation to highly pathogenic avian influenza or Newcastle disease.

Establishment of origin

Entry into the EU of captive birds is authorised if they come from approved establishments in those third countries that are listed in Annex VI to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/404, and if the birds comply with certain requirements and are accompanied by an animal health certificate.

Official health certificates

Captive birds being presented for entry into the European Union must be accompanied by an official health certificate which model is set in Annex II Chapter 34 of 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 certificate.

An official veterinarian in the authorised non-EU country has to sign the official 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 when they are presented for entry into the EU at an approved EU Border Control Post.

Border inspections

Captive birds 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.

Captive birds which do not comply with the Union's health requirements cannot enter or transit the Union.

Quarantine requirement after Border Control Post checks

Following their entry into the Union, captive birds shall be transported without delay directly to an approved quarantine establishment for a period of at least 30 days. Rules for the quarantine are set in Articles 59 to 61 of Regulation (EU) 2020/692.

Special rules for racing pigeons

Racing pigeons entering the European Union from a non-EU country where they are normally kept, with the intention to be immediately released with the expectation that they will fly back to that third country have to comply with less stringent rules than that applicable to captive birds e.g. the establishment of origin shall only be registered (approval not required) or listed, the birds must not be quarantined after the check at the border control post.

Rules are detailed in Article 62.2 of Regulation (EU) 2020/692.

Those racing pigeons shall be accompanied by a certificate which model is set in chapter 34a of Annex II to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/403.