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Food Safety

Live animals: movements within the Union and entry into the EU

Trade and Entry into the Union

The difference between trade and entry into the Union in relation to live animals is as follows:

  • Intra-Union trade or trade refers solely to the movement of animals between the EU countries.
  • Entry into the Union refers solely to the introduction of animals into the EU countries from non-EU countries.

Live animals are traded or enter the Union everyday. In order that all these animals can be moved safely avoiding the transmission of diseases - to either the public or other animals - the EU has laid down animal health requirements.

The general animal health requirements that are applicable to both entries and intra-Union trade are laid down in specific Regulations.


Regarding intra-Union trade, the conditions for trade are harmonised between the EU countries. All live animals must travel with a health certificate validated by an official veterinarian specifying that the animals fulfil the basic animal health requirements as set out in the relevant Regulations.

Further random checks on the animals may also be carried out at the final destination.

In addition to the general health requirements, in the event of a serious exotic disease outbreak within the EU countries, specific requirements for trade in certain live animals may also be laid down in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

Entry into the Union

For entry into the Union, animal health requirements are set out in specific Regulations. Animal health certificates must accompany all animal on their way to the Union and in general, these certificates must be signed by an official veterinarian of the competent authority of the non-EU country of origin, guaranteeing that the conditions for entry into the EU have been met.

On arrival at the EU border, the animals and the accompanying certificates must be verified and checked by EU official veterinarians at a designated Border Control Post (BCP). Further checks on the animals may also be carried out at the final destination.

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