This page provides information on the import conditions for both breeding/production and slaughter cattle from Great Britain. It also provides documents which will help to make sure you have all the required import paperwork.

Import conditions for breeding and production cattle

You must apply to DARD Trade Section ( 028 905 20989) at least 10 working days prior to import to obtain a Specific import licence permitting you to import animals from Great Britain. The licence conditions are set out below.

Port of entry

Landing must take place at the port of Larne and the person in charge of the animals must report immediately following disembarkation to a Portal Inspector and must co-operate with DARD staff as required. Animals may not leave the Port until a Portal Inspector has authorised such departure.

Cattle identification requirements

Each animal must bear an identification tag in each ear and be accompanied by a Passport confirming the following details:-

  • the official identification code of the ear tag marks
  • the date of birth
  • identification code (the ear marks) of the dam
  • the sex and breed
  • the official identification number issued by the competent veterinary authority to the holding of birth
  • the movement history of the animals since birth i.e. official identification numbers issued by the competent veterinary authority to all holdings where the animal has resided since birth and the dates of movement from each holding

Health certificate guarantees

The cattle being imported must be accompanied by an original valid health certificate signed by an Official Veterinary Surgeon appointed by the appropriate authority in Great Britain identifying the name and address of the consignor and consignee, the address of the premises of origin and destination, giving the description, ear number, sex, date of birth and category of each animal to which it relates.

The health certificate referred to above must certify that:

  • the herd from which the cattle originate is officially Tuberculosis and Brucellosis free
  • within 24 hours of export to Northern Ireland all cattle described on the certificate were clinically examined, were found to be free from evidence of infectious or contagious disease and fit to travel and their identification marks were seen to be clear and as stated on the schedule
  • that they are not animals required to be slaughtered under a programme to control or eradicate an infectious or contagious disease
  • cattle being imported into Northern Ireland must not be vaccinated against Foot and Mouth Disease.

Residency requirements

Animals have remained in a single holding of origin for a period of 30 days prior to loading, or since birth.

Supplementary certificate guarantees and testing requirements

The imported animals must also be accompanied by a supplementary certificate signed by a Private Veterinary Practitioner certifying that the animals have been subjected to a Tuberculosis test within 30 days prior to export, with negative results. (Cattle under 42 days of age are exempt from this test.)

Owner’s declaration

The owner must attest in the owner’s declaration, if appropriate, that any animals less than 90 days of age (and their transport vehicle) has been treated with insecticide within 24 hours prior to movement. 

Cleansing and disinfection requirements

The transport vehicle must have been cleansed so as to remove all visible organic matter. It must be disinfected with a disinfectant approved by Defra and treated with an approved insecticide prior to loading the animals. The imported animals must not come into contact with animals that are not certified to the same health status.

Post import conditions

Immediately after landing imported cattle must be moved directly to the holding of destination in Northern Ireland as shown in the health certificate. The person in charge of the holding of destination of the imported animals must advise the local Divisional Veterinary Officer of their arrival within 7 days following importation. This requires the importer to confirm movement of
the animals onto the farm by submitting an MC2 to their local DARD Office.

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Import conditions of slaughter cattle from Great Britain

You must apply to DARD Trade Section ( 028 905 20989) at least 10 working days prior to import to obtain a Specific import licence permitting you to import animals from Great Britain. The licence conditions are set out below.

Port of entry

Landing must take place at the port of Larne and the person in charge of the animals must report immediately following disembarkation to a Portal Inspector and must co-operate with DARD staff as required. Animals may not leave the Port until a Portal Inspector has authorised such departure.

The person in charge of the imported animals must advise the Portal Inspector of their arrival not later than 48 hours prior to importation. Any consignment arriving at the port which has not been notified may be re-exported.

Cattle identification requirements

Each animal must bear an identification tag in each ear and be accompanied by a passport confirming the following details:-

  • the official identification code of the ear tag marks
  • the date of birth
  • identification code (the ear marks) of the dam
  • the sex and breed
  • the official identification number issued by the competent veterinary authority to the holding of birth
  • the movement history of the animals since birth i.e. official identification numbers issued by the competent veterinary authority to all holdings where the animal has resided since birth and the dates of movement from each holding

Health certificate guarantees

The cattle being imported must be accompanied by an original valid health certificate signed by an Official Veterinary Surgeon appointed by the appropriate authority in Great Britain identifying the name and address of the consignor and consignee, the address of the premises of origin and destination, giving the description, ear number, sex, date of birth and category of each animal to which it relates. The health certificate referred to above must certify that:

  • the herd from which the cattle are being exported to Northern Ireland is officially Tuberculosis and Brucellosis free;
  • within 24 hours of export to Northern Ireland all cattle described on the certificate were clinically examined, were found to be free from evidence of infectious or contagious disease and fit to travel and their identification marks were seen to be clear and as stated on the schedule;
  • cattle being imported into Northern Ireland must not be vaccinated against Foot and Mouth Disease. Animals found to be FMD vaccinated will be re-exported immediately.

Supplementary certificate guarantees

  • the animals were born on or after 1 August 1996
  • the animals must not be required to be slaughtered under a programme to control or eradicate an infectious or contagious disease

Cleansing and disinfection requirements

The transport vehicle must have been cleansed so as to remove all visible organic matter. It must be disinfected with a disinfectant approved by Defra and treated with an approved insecticide prior to loading the animals. 

During transport, the imported animals must not come into contact with animals that are not certified to the same health status.

Post import conditions

Immediately after landing, the imported animals must be moved direct to slaughter and may only be consigned to the abattoir as shown on the health certificate. The animals must not be moved to a market. On arrival at the meat plant/abattoir the animals and health certificate(s) which accompanied the animals must be presented an officer of DARD for checking.

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