Trade in Bovine and Swine

There exists intra EU controls on the trade in certain animals.  There is a directive on trade within the EU in bovine animals and swine for breeding, production, or slaughter.

The transport of bovine animals and swine to another state is permitted if

  • they do not display a sign of clinical disease
  • they have not been obtained from a holding subject to a prohibition
  • they are authorized in accordance with EU regulation on bovine animals
  • they are covered and accompanied by a health certificate in the form prescribed in legislation during transport to the country of destination
  • they come from a bovine herd officially free of tuberculosis, brucellosis and certain other conditions.

During transport, animals must not come into contact with other animals which do not conform to the same health conditions.

Vehicles used to transport animals must guarantee their well being and meet certain conditions including

  • design to prevent dispersal of droppings, litter or fodder
  • be cleaned and disinfected after each transportation of animals in line with approved methods and procedures

They must include a  register setting out information on location, date and time of loading and delivery of animals Type and quantity of animals transported, length of the journey, length, days in a location where vehicle disinfected.

Animals for slaughter which have been transported directly to an abattoir on their arrival in the country of destination must be slaughtered within 72 hours of arrival.  If they are transported directly to an approved assembly centre on their arrival in the destination country, before being transported to the abattoir, slaughter must take place within three working days following arrival in the assembly centre.

Bovine and  Swine Breeding

There are several other directives on intra-community trade in particular species of animals.  EU directive on bovine purebred breeding animals applies to purebred animals of the bovine species as well as their semen ova and embryos. States must guarantee free trade in purebred breeding animals’ cells and embryos.

States must ensure that there are no obstacles to the establishment of herd-books and provide recognition or organization and associations which maintain them. States may require pedigree certificates to be presented in EU trade in pure breeding animals.  The Commission determines

  • performance monitoring methods for assessing cattle’s genetic value
  • criteria governing the recognition of breeder’s organization
  • criteria governing the establishment of herd-books

Breeder’s organizations and associations recognized by states may not oppose the entry on their herd-books of purebred animals of the bovine species from other states provided they meet the conditions in the regulations.

Directive on the EU trade in  pure breeding pigs provides broadly similar provisions.  The Commission determines

  • performance monitoring for assessing pig’s genetic value
  • criteria governing the establishment of herd-books and registers
  • criteria governing entry in the herd-books and registers
  • criteria for recognition and supervision of breeders associations
  • certificates which states may require on the marketing of purebred pigs’ semen, ova, and embryo.

States may not prohibit, restrict or impede on zootechnical grounds, trade within the EU in purebred and high bred breeding pigs, their semen or ova or embryo.

The official approval of breeding associations, or private bodies establishing herd-books may not be prohibited or restricted.


A Directive on EU trade in equidae, their semen, ova, and embryos set out zootechnical and genealogical conditions governing their trade.  Trade may not be prohibited or restricted on the zoo, technical or genealogical grounds.

The directive lays down genealogical rules for registered equidae. The Commission determines criteria for the identification of equidae, approval of organizations keeping studbooks and for the entry of equidae in studbooks.

In inter-community trade, equidae registered in the country of dispatch must be entered in the studbook of the country of destination under the same name.

States must maintain an updated list of organizations which manage and establish studbooks and communicate the list to other states. The directive lays down zoo, technical rules.

Directive lays down the animal health conditions governing trade movement and importation of equidae.  The directive covers wild and domesticated animals, of the equine, or asinine species.  Exemptions may be allowed for equidae used for sporting, recreational or cultural reasons.

Equidae moved between states.

  • must show no sign of disease at inspection which will be carried out within 48 hours of embarkation.
  • must not have been in contact with equidae suffering from infections or contagious diseases during the 15 days prior to inspection
  • must not be slaughtered under a program of contagious or infectious disease eradication
  • must be identified by a document on due technical and genealogical conditions on intra EU trade in equidae
  • must not come from a holding which has been the subject of a prohibition order relating to the outbreak of infectious or contagious disease

There are conditions in relation to transport and movement of equidae which have been subject to certain diseases.

Third countries wishing to export equidae within the EU must be included in a list of authorized countries.  Authorizations are granted having regard to the animal health situation of equidae in the third country and guarantees that the country provides in terms of health and well being of animals.

Equidae must come from a third country or region which is free from certain specified diseases.

Equidae must have been for a set period in the country of export.  They must be identified and accompanied by a health certificate issued by an official veterinarian of the exporting country.  The inspection shall be made by a veterinary expert from the states and the Commission.



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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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