Export or move live animals and animal products to the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021

Guide

Last updated 1 April 2021

This guidance applies to businesses in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) exporting or moving live animals and animal products to, or through the EU and Northern Ireland (NI). Find out more about moving goods into, out of, or through NI from 1 January 2021.

Exporting or moving live animals and animal products

You'll need to follow different guidance for:

Live animals, products of animal origin (POAO) or germplasm (semen, ova and embryos)
You'll need an export health certificate (EHC) from 1 January 2021 to:

  • export live animals, POAO or germplasm from GB to the EU
  • move live animals, POAO or germplasm from GB to NI
  • transit through the EU and NI

You'll also need to:

Use the transition checker to find out what you need to do from 1 January 2021.

You'll also need to follow new rules on identifying animals (see below), if you want to export or move them to the EU or NI after 1 January 2021.

You must follow animal welfare during transport rules to export or move live animals to the EU or NI (see section below on documents to transport live animals).

You should read additional rules if you:

  • export or move composite food products to the EU and NI
  • want to check if your product counts as a composite food product

Animal by-products
To export or move animal by-products (ABPs), you'll need to check the export health certificate (EHC) finder to get either:

If you cannot find either of these for your product type, you'll need to contact the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in NI or the competent authority in the EU country where your consignment is going - this means the equivalent of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in that country. They'll send you the paperwork you'll need to fill in.

If you're exporting or moving animal by-products from GB to the EU or NI you must make sure:

  • mammalian PAP has been processed in a region considered as posing a negligible BSE risk through method 1 (pressure sterilisation)
  • tallow for non-feed use has a marker using glycerol triheptanonate (GTH)

You will not be able to export or move untreated and unprocessed animal by-products from GB to the EU or NI.

You will not be able to export the following to non-EU countries:

  • category 1 specified risk material (SRM)
  • animal by-products (ABPs)
  • derived products destined for incineration or landfill

You will not be able to import and export all category 1 and 2 animal by-products.

You'll also need to follow HMRC guidance:

Some ABPs need to go through a BCP in the EU or a point of entry in NI. You can confirm this by checking the EU list of products which must be inspected by a vet at a BCP in the EU or point of entry in NI.

If your ABP needs to go through a BCP in the EU, or point of entry in NI you must make sure that your:

  • goods are checked at an EU border control post (BCP) or NI point of entry that can accept your type of goods - this must be in the first EU country you enter, or at the point of entry in NI
  • EU or NI-based import agent has notified the BCP or point of entry in NI that your consignment is arriving - check with the BCP or point of entry for how much notice needs to be given

If your ABP does not need to go through a BCP in the EU or point of entry in NI, you must make sure that your EU or NI-based import agent notifies:

  • DAERA in NI or the competent authority of the EU country that your consignment is going to
  • NI or EU port or airport, within the time limits set out by the competent authority

Identifying animals to export or move to the EU or NI

You must use the GB country code from 1 January 2021 when identifying animals you want to:

  • export to the EU
  • move to NI
  • transit through the EU or NI

You must record all tags you use in your holding register before sending your animals for export.

You can order the tags you need from your usual ear tag supplier.

Sheep and goat tagging
You should add a third tag with the GB country code to sheep or goats who are already double tagged. You must use the same individual ID number on the GB tag.

For unidentified animals you're tagging for the first time, you can choose to either:

  • use double UK tags with the GB suffix (UK-GB)
  • add a third tag with the GB country code - you must add this if your UK double tags do not state GB

Single tagged lambs you want to export or move to the EU or NI must be reidentified using double tags. You can either:

  • use double UK tags with the GB suffix (UK-GB)
  • add a third tag with the GB country code - you must add this if your UK double tags do not state GB

One of these tags must be electronic.

All tags must include the animal's individual ID number.

Third tags should not be yellow or red.

You can replace lost or damaged tags with ones that use the GB suffix (UK-GB) if your animals have already been identified.

Cattle tagging
You should add a third tag with the GB country code to cattle who are already double tagged.

All tags must include the animal's individual ID number.

For unidentified calves you're tagging for the first time, you can choose to either:

  • use double UK tags with the GB suffix (UK-GB)
  • add a third tag with the GB country code - you must add this if your UK double tags do not state GB

You should use a plastic flag or button tag, of any colour, for your third tag.

If you export cattle for slaughter, they must be freeze-branded on the hind quarters with an L mark.

Cattle passports
You do not need to send passports with your cattle when you export them to the EU from 1 January 2021.

You must return any existing passports to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) within 7 days of exporting your animals.

Pig tagging
You should identify pigs you want to export or move to the EU or NI with an ear tag or tattoo that states:

  • UK, with the GB suffix (UK-GB)
  • the animal's herd mark
  • an individual ID number

Moving animals to GB from NI
You can continue to use existing UK tags to move animals from NI to GB after 1 January 2021.

Read more information about moving goods under the NI Protocol.

Contact DAERA for information about moving goods from NI to the EU.

Grace period for authorised traders moving food from GB to NI
There will be a 3 month grace period from certification through to 1 April 2021 for authorised traders such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers from 1 January 2021. If you're moving products of animal origin from GB to NI, you will not require official certification, such as export health certificates, phytosanitary certificates or marketing standards certification.

The UK government and the Northern Ireland Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs will engage in a rapid exercise to ensure that traders who can benefit from these arrangements are identified prior to 31 December. The government will not discriminate against smaller suppliers or between different companies in implementing these practical measures.

The following conditions will be attached to these arrangements:

  • The goods are packaged for end consumers and they bear a label reading "These products from the United Kingdom may not be marketed outside Northern Ireland".
  • They are destined solely for sale to end consumers in supermarkets located in Northern Ireland, and they cannot be sold to other operators of the food chain.
  • They are accompanied by a simplified official certificate globally stating the products meet all the import requirements of EU legislation.
  • They enter Northern Ireland through a designated point of entry, where they are submitted to a systematic documentary check and to a risk-based identity check on a selection of items in the means of transport.
  • They are monitored through a channelling procedure applicable from the designated point of entry to the destination supermarket in NI.

Authorised traders

Authorised traders are supermarkets and their trusted suppliers. The UK government will not discriminate against smaller suppliers or between different companies in recognising traders as authorised for the purpose of this grace period.

A trusted supplier is any business that independently moves its products from GB to NI, for sale in NI.

For example, a meat pie supplier that moves its own products from GB to NI, which delivers directly to a store for sale within NI only would be eligible for authorised trader status.

However, a meat pie supplier that delivers products to a supermarket distribution centre in GB, which is then moved by the supermarket to NI, the producer would not qualify. In this instance, the supermarket would be the authorised trader for that movement into Northern Ireland.

Self-identification by traders
Defra and DAERA are compiling a list of authorised traders who can benefit from the 3-month grace period. Once identified, the traders will be added onto Defra's authorised traders list that will be sent to the European Commission.

You can also self-identify to be included on the list.

If you self-identify as an authorised trader, complete the Authorised Trader Form (PDF, 149K).

The form must be completed fully. Make sure you provide your:

  • business name
  • company affiliation if you’re a supplier
  • Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI)
  • head office address
  • NI distribution address if relevant

The form will ask further information on your operations. This information will be used to determine whether you are eligible to be included on the list.

Email Defra if you have questions about your eligibility or the grace period.

Email your completed authorised traders form to Defra by 17.00 pm (GMT) on 28 December 2020.

Defra will attempt to respond to all emails within 2 working days.

The emailed response will either:

  • confirm that your business is included on the authorised traders list and include your business’ unique registration number
  • contain a rejection letter with reasons and steps you can take to resolve them. You can challenge rejection decisions via email until 28 December 2020.

Exports to non-EU countries (third countries) from the UK

There's unlikely to be any change to the current export rules and processes for countries outside the EU. Make sure you check the existing guidance on exporting live animals or animal products.

Restricted and prohibited goods

EU rules mean you will not be able to export the following goods to the EU:

  • chilled minced meat (red meat)
  • chilled meat preparations (for example, raw sausages)
  • minced meat (poultry)
  • poultry and ratite or game bird mechanically separated meat
  • raw milk from TB herds
  • ungraded eggs
  • composite products containing dairy products made from unpasteurised milk (for example, a ready meal topped with unpasteurised cheese)

You will not be able to re-export certain animal and animal products including:

  • fresh meat originally from the EU or non-EU countries
  • milk not from the UK
  • products using products of animal origin from non-EU countries that are not listed by the EU for the purpose of imports into the EU

Movements from GB to NI
You can continue to move the following restricted and prohibited meat products from GB to NI from 1 January:

  • frozen or chilled minced meat of poultry, ratites and wild game birds
  • chilled minced meat from animals other than poultry
  • chilled meat preparations
  • any unprocessed meat produced from meat initially imported into GB from the EU

This will be in place for six months. The government will continue to explore permanent reciprocal arrangements. You must also make sure the meat products:

  • enter NI through a designated point of entry, and follow the channelling procedure applicable from the designated point of entry through to the destination supermarket in NI, as directed by the point of entry authority
  • are sold exclusively to end consumers in supermarkets located in NI, and they're not sold to other operators of the food chain
  • are accompanied by official certificates issued by the UK competent authorities (based on similar models already existing for fresh meat, minced meat and meat preparations)
  • are packed for end consumers and have a label reading "These products from the United Kingdom may not be sold outside Northern Ireland"

If you are moving permitted chilled meats from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, Prohibited and Restricted (P&R) Export Health Certificates will be required from and including 22 February 2021. Find out more about importing prohibited and restricted chilled meat products to NI from GB.

Checks at EU BCPs or point of entry in NI

You must get your animals and animal products checked at an EU BCP or point of entry in NI, from 1 January 2021.

These checks are made to protect:

  • animal health and welfare
  • public health

Your goods may be refused entry, seized, destroyed or returned to GB if they arrive at:

  • a port in the EU without a BCP where checks cannot be carried out
  • an EU BCP that cannot check your type of product
  • an EU BCP without the correct documentation

Find the correct BCP for your goods
You must find a BCP that accepts your type of goods - as not all BCPs accept all goods. You'll need to consider how to redirect your trade route if needed.

There are more than 400 BCPs in the EU and they're usually at EU ports and airports.

You can check the list of EU BCPs on the EU site.

Give advance notice to EU BCPs or point of entry in NI
You'll need to give EU BCPs or points of entry in NI advance notice of goods arriving.

Check with the BCP or point of entry you're planning to use for how much notice is needed.

Contact your import agent in the EU or NI to make sure they notify the BCP through TRACES of the arrival of the consignment.

They must do this within the time limits set out by the BCP or point of entry.

What happens if your live animals fail inspection at a BCP
If your live animals fail inspection because of risks to animal or public health, they will be destroyed immediately. If the goods fail for other reasons, the BCP will:

  • notify your importer or agent
  • ask them to decide whether your goods should be destroyed or returned to GB

The BCP will not usually contact you directly.

Rejected live animals from 1 January to 28 February 2022

From 1 January to 22 February 2022, live animals rejected at EU BCPs may, subject to a risk assessment, re-enter GB through any point of entry.

Rejected goods are consignments rejected by the competent authority in an EU country. Consignments rejected for commercial reasons cannot be returned as rejected goods.

There are certain documentary requirements to return rejected goods to GB from the EU. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will notify you if the returned consignment needs to enter through a BCP or can enter through any point of entry.

Document requirements for rejected live animals from 1 January 2021
To return a consignment, submit an import notification on the import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS).

If your consignment is rejected at a point of entry in Northern Ireland and does not include cattle from Northern Ireland, you do not need to submit a notification on IPAFFS. You should instead email APHA's Centre for International Trade (CIT) at imports@apha.gov.uk. You must state in your email that you wish to return your consignment to Great Britain.

If your consignment is rejected at a point of entry in Northern Ireland and includes cattle from Northern Ireland, you must submit a notification on IPAFFS.

Attach these documents to the IPAFFS notification:

  • the original export certificate and related documentation
  • statement from the EU BCP of the reasons why the returned animals were refused by the EU BCP
  • statement from the EU BCP with details of the premises in which the animals were kept since leaving GB, for example in quarantine or in isolation
  • declaration by the person responsible for the returned animals that the import conditions relating to transport have been complied with in relation to the returned animals, such as animal welfare requirements
  • declaration by the person responsible for the animals that they have not been in contact with any other animal of a lesser health status since leaving GB

For the IPAFFS notification, the ‘country of origin’ is the country where the rejecting BCP is located.

Email APHA Centre for International Trade (CIT) at imports@apha.gov.uk to tell them that you’ve submitted an IPAFFS notification.

In the title of the email:

  • state that the message is about an IPAFFS notification for the return of a consignment
  • include the Unique Notification Number that IPAFFS generates when the notification is submitted

APHA will assess this information to decide the conditions of import and if the consignment will have to be returned through any point of entry or a BCP.

APHA will issue you with a written authorisation. The consignment cannot be returned until you have received this authorisation. You must comply with the conditions of the authorisation.

Live animals rejected from an EU BCP from 1 March 2022
Returned live animals must enter GB at an appropriately designated BCP for checks on entry from 1 March 2022. You must notify on IPAFFS and present the relevant documentation to the BCP as set out in the returned goods processes for live animals.

Documents to transport live animals

You need EU-issued documents to transport live animals:

  • direct from GB to the EU
  • through the EU to a non-EU country

You should apply to an EU member state where you have representation to get a:

  • transport authorisation
  • certificate of competence
  • vehicle approval certificate

The EU will no longer recognise UK-issued versions of these documents.

You can use GB-issued transporter authorisations, certificates of competence, and vehicle approval certificates in NI.

You can use NI-issued transporter authorisations, certificates of competence, and vehicle approval certificates in GB.

Journey logs
To transport live animals from, or through, GB to the EU you’ll need to apply for 2 journey logs:

  • one approved by the EU member state which is the first point of entry into the EU
  • one approved by APHA (or DAERA, if the journey originates in NI)

For further information on documents to transport live animals, contact APHA: CITCarlisle@apha.gov.uk or DAERA.

Export to non-EU countries

You’ll usually need to complete an EHC and some supporting documents to export a live animal.

Check the EHC finder to see if a certificate exists for your animal or product. If you find an EHC, follow the EHC process to export.

If you cannot find an EHC for your product, you’ll need to contact the competent authority in the EU country you’re exporting to, in advance, to find out what:

  • paperwork you’ll need to fill in
  • rules you need to comply with

If the competent authority says that you need an EHC, you’ll need to get their import conditions. Email the conditions to APHA at exports@apha.gov.uk who’ll arrange an EHC for you.

Welfare standards for transporting live animals

You must make sure you meet animal welfare standards when transporting animals.

Endangered animals

You need to follow some additional rules when exporting endangered animals.

Use the Species+ tool to search for your animal. Check which annex (A, B, C or D) it’s classified as under EU wildlife trade regulations.

If Species+ says the animal is banned, you cannot export it.

If the species is listed you may need Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) permits to export the animal from the UK. Follow the advice on exporting endangered species.

Regular exports for public exhibition

If you regularly take endangered animals abroad, you could use a travelling exhibition certificate, as described in this EU wildlife trade regulations guide (PDF, 2.7MB) instead of a CITES permit.

You can use the certificate within or outside the EU. It’s valid for 3 years and means you do not need to apply for permission each time.

Before you apply, you should contact APHA.

To apply, fill in travelling exhibition certificate (form FED0173).

Email or post the completed form to the APHA Centre for International Trade Bristol.

The fee is £74 and APHA aims to process your application in 15 working days.