This section of our website provides useful information and guidance in relation to exporting animal products to Great Britain, third countries (TCs) and within the EU.

Export to Great Britain (GB)

Livestock and genetic material being exported to GB must be accompanied by an export health certificate signed by an Authorised Veterinary Inspector (AVI).  The import conditions are set out in General licences available on the Defra website.

Export within the European Union (EU)

Exporters wanting to move live animals, animal products (excluding meat and milk) to an EU Member State will need an Intracommunity Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) signed by an AVI.  In the case of some animal products only a commercial document may be required (ie without the involvement of an AVI for example meat and milk product exports); for others an ITAHC will be needed.

Norway and Switzerland have agreed harmonised animal health and welfare rules with the EU for animals, certain animal products and germplasm. Together with EU Member States they make up the European Economic Area (EEA).

Guidance on what documentation is required for exports within the EU, including to GB, is available in the trade table.

There is also detailed information on the documentation and conditions applicable to livestock and equine exports to both GB and EU available in the exporting animal’s category.

Export to Third Countries (TC)

All countries that are not members of the EU are regarded as TC for the purposes of importing and exporting.

Animals or animal products can be exported to TC if there is an export health certificate (EHC) in place for the destination country.

Other documents may be required by the importing country, and it is the exporter's responsibility to find out what these are and comply with the import regulations of the destination country.

Controls vary from country to country, and are set by the importing country. They are informed by standards set by the World Organisation of Animal Health and the World Trade Organisation.

DEFRA lead on the negotiation of  EHC with support from DARD and the industry.  The conditions within an EHC are in the main set by the importing Country although every effort is made by Defra and DARD to ensure they offer the most economic value for exports.

Exporters have a responsibility to meet all the requirements before they export, including all relevant premises approvals and listing. These can be complex, and advice and guidance is available to help.  Exporters seeking advice should first contact the DARD Trade Administration team who will:

  • provide advice to exporters
  • work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP) and Export Certification User Group (ECUG) to develop new certificates and open the door to emerging market opportunities for industry.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) also has information about commercially exporting food and feed contained on their website.


Before exporting to TC, you should:

  • check whether a suitable export health certificate (gov.uk website) is available. Samples of some Export Health Certificates can be found on the Sample Certificates page of the DEFRA website.
  • contact DARD Trade Administration team to confirm if export is currently possible to the country to which you wish to export. For the product or animal you wish to export on.
  • to better illustrate the Third Country export process, please see below.

For live animals and animal products- TradeAdminPost@dardni.gov.uk or 028 9052 0989
For meat and dairy exports- vs.implementation@dardni.gov.uk or 028 9052 4275.   

Export of germplasm

Please use the links below to find out more information about each area of exportation:

Meat export process

The link below provides guidance on the process for exporting meat to a non-EU country.

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