This page provides information on the import conditions which have applied since 1 January 2021, for cattle entering Northern Ireland(NI) from Great Britain (GB). It also provides documents which will help to make sure you have all the required import paperwork. Any cattle moving from GB to NI require an EU Export Health Certificate (EHC) instead of the previously used GB to NI EHC's.
As a consequence of the introduction of these requirements the previous Specific Import licencing arrangements no longer apply

As a result of the confirmed cases of BTV-3 in England, moves of all live ruminants from GB to NI are still suspended. 

The movement of livestock from GB to NI can recommence when GB recovers their EU recognised disease-free status for Bluetongue.  The minimum period required before disease free status can be granted by the EU is two years from the date of the last positive case. 

This period may be reduced should an approved vaccine become available for BTV-3.  Moves may also be permitted sooner should regionalisation for BTV be pursued by GB with approval granted by the EU.  However, regionalisation will not be pursued at this juncture.

The eligibility for import into NI of germinal products is linked to the date and period of collection / processing in GB.  Eligibility criteria are contained within the Export Health Certificate attestations. 

Further details on the impact on trade including moves of germinal products can be accessed here.

Please contact DAERA Trade Imports - daeratradeimports@daera-ni.gov.uk should you require further information.  

Updates regarding the suspension will be published on the DAERA Website here

There are 4 types of cattle import from GB. Please select a link below to see applicable requirements.

1. Import for breeding/production

2. Import for slaughter

3. Return for NI cattle from an approved show/sale in GB

4. Transit through NI for onwards travel to other EU MS

1. Import for breeding/production

1.1. Identification requirements

GB keepers who are selling or moving livestock to a keeper in NI are expected to attach an “export” tag to all animals. In England, for cattle the ISO code must be GB. In Wales and Scotland, GB or 826 can be used.

Any type of tag (e.g. flag tag, button tag) may be used for this additional export tag, but it should be easily read from a distance. A third tag with the GB country code should be added to cattle who are already double tagged. All tags must include the animal’s individual ID number.

1.2. Disease control import requirements

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 DAERA staff as required. Animals may not leave the Port until a Portal Inspector has authorised such departure.

Pre notification: All consignments of cattle must be pre-notified to DAERA at  Larne Harbour on TRACES-NT using a CHED-A. The importer or person responsible for the consignment must be registered on TRACES NT before the import can take place. Guidance on TRACES NT registration, pre-notification and CHED A completion can be found at this link . Pre-notification on TRACES NT must be completed at least 24 hours before arrival.

Export health certificate (EHC): The animals to be imported must be accompanied by an original health certificate EHC 8446 and a schedule giving details of the individual ear numbers, breed, sex and age of the animals to which it related and the registration number of the vehicle in which the animals are being transported to Northern Ireland (NI). The necessary health certificate and the conditions therein required for export from GB to NI can be viewed here

The health certificate and the schedule must be signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) appointed by the appropriate authority in Great Britain. Fulfilment of these conditions is a matter for consideration between the exporter and their OV in GB

Cleansing and disinfection: The transport vehicle must be cleansed so as to remove all visible organic matter. It must be disinfected with a disinfectant approved by Defra prior to loading of the animals. During transport the imported animals must not come into contact with animals that are not certified as being of the same health status.

GB residency information: The cattle must have been resident in the region of origin since birth or for at least 6 months and in the establishment of origin since birth or for at least 40 days prior to the date of dispatch to the Union.

Animal age requirements: The animals being exported from GB must have been born after 14/02/2015. This is the date of birth of the last indigenous case of BSE confirmed in September 2021 in GB. If another indigenous BSE case occurs in future in these regions this will mean animals being exported must be born after the date of birth of the new case.

Pre-import testing requirements: Depending on animal age, area of origin and current disease free status of GB, animals may require pre-import testing for Tuberculosis and/or Bluetongue. Details for testing requirements are available in the guidance notes accessible here.

1.3. Post import requirements

Restriction at destination: Following clearance and release from the port of landing in NI, the imported cattle must be moved directly to the holding of destination in Northern Ireland as shown in the health certificate and must remain there for a period of at least 30 days. A restriction notice will be in place to that effect.

The importer must confirm movement of the animals onto the farm by submitting an MC2 to their local DAERA Office. 

All cattle moving from GB to NI for breeding and production purposes will need to be re-tagged by the receiving NI keeper unless the cattle being imported are identified with a tag number previously issued by DAERA (UK 9 prefix) or a current EU Member State ( eg. DE, DK, IE or 372 prefix). This is because, under the relevant EU law, which will continue to apply to Northern Ireland, animals must be identified, upon entry from a third country, with a unique identification code, related to the holding of destination. Cattle must be re-identified within 20 days of arriving in NI and before leaving the holding of destination in NI and the re-identification must be supervised by a DAERA inspector to ensure the cattle’s traceability is maintained.

The EHC does not specifically require pre-export testing for BVD. Cattle imported from GB which do not have a negative BVD test result that is recognised by the NI BVD Eradication Programme are required to send a tissue or blood sample to a DAERA approved laboratory for BVD testing within 27 days of arrival. This must be arranged and paid for by the owner and done before the animal is moved to another herd. Further information is available from BVD testing of imported cattle - AHWNI guidance

1.4. Welfare during transport requirements

This journey is classed as a commercial transport and as such, all requirements under ‘The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006’ and Council Regulation EC 1/2005 must be complied with. Further guidance on these requirements is available vie the following links:

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/welfare-animals-during-transport  

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/transporter-authorisation-certificates-competence-vehicle-approval-and-journey-log-rules-1st-january

1.5. Other useful links

Identification requirements for imported cattle

BVD testing of imported cattle - AHWNI guidance

Importer checklist for breeding/production cattle

Animal transport certificate

Bovine animals (europa.eu)

Northern Ireland Online Tariff: Look up commodity codes, duty and VAT rates - GOV.UK (trade-tariff.service.gov.uk)

2. Import for slaughter

2.1. Identification requirements

From January 2021, GB keepers who are selling or moving livestock to a keeper in NI will be expected to attach an “export” tag to animals printed with the country code ‘GB’, unless those animals already have the letters GB printed on their existing official ear tags.

In England, for cattle the ISO code must be GB. In Wales and Scotland, GB or 826 can be used.

Any type of tag (e.g. flag tag, button tag) may be used for this additional export tag, but it should be easily read from a distance. A third tag with the GB country code should be added to cattle who are already double tagged. All tags must include the animal’s individual ID number.

2.2. Disease control import requirement

Pre-notification: All consignments of cattle must be pre-notified to DAERA at Larne Harbour  on TRACES-NT using a CHED-A. The importer or person responsible for the consignment must be registered on TRACES NT before the import can take place. Guidance on TRACES NT registration, pre-notification and CHED A completion can be found at this link. Pre-notification on TRACES NT must be completed at least 24 hours before arrival.

Export health certificate (EHC): The animals to be imported must be accompanied by an original health certificate EHC 8447 and a schedule giving details of the individual ear numbers, breed, sex and age of the animals to which it related and the registration number of the vehicle in which the animals are being transported to Northern Ireland (NI). The necessary health certificate and the conditions therein required for export from GB to NI can be viewed here The health certificate and the schedule must be signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) appointed by the appropriate authority in Great Britain. Fulfilment of these conditions is a matter for consideration between the exporter and their OV in GB

Animal age requirements: The animals being exported from GB must have been born after 14/02/2015. This is the date of birth of the last indigenous case of BSE confirmed in September 2021 in GB. If another indigenous BSE case occurs in future in these regions this will mean animals being exported must be born after the date of birth of the new case

Cleansing and disinfection: The transport vehicle must be cleansed so as to remove all visible organic matter. It must be disinfected with a disinfectant approved by Defra prior to loading of the animals. During transport the imported animals must not come into contact with animals that are not certified as being of the same health status.

GB residency information: The cattle must have been resident in the region of origin since birth or for at least 3 months and in the establishment of origin since birth or for at least 40 days prior to the date of dispatch to the Union

2.3. Post import requirements

Following clearance and release from the port of landing in NI, 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 anywhere else and be slaughtered within 3 working days. On arrival at the meat plant/abattoir the animals and health certificate(s) which accompanied the animals must be presented to an officer of DAERA for checking.

2.4. Welfare during transport requirements

This journey is classed as a commercial transport and as such, all requirements under ‘The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006’ and Council Regulation EC 1/2005 must be complied with. Further guidance on these requirements is available via the following links:

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/welfare-animals-during-transport  

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/transporter-authorisation-certificates-competence-vehicle-approval-and-journey-log-rules-1st-january

2.5. Useful links

Importer checklist for slaughter cattle

Animal transport certificate

Bovine animals (europa.eu)

Northern Ireland Online Tariff: Look up commodity codes, duty and VAT rates - GOV.UK (trade-tariff.service.gov.uk)

3. Return for NI cattle from an approved show/sale in GB

3.1. Requirements prior to export to GB

All NI origin animals entering the approved show or sale must be accompanied by the relevant export health certificate (EHC) to move from NI to the approved sale in GB.  This EHC can be obtained from your private Authorised Veterinary Inspector.  

Further advice and guidance in relation to exporting breeding & production cattle  directly from their premises of origin can be found at Export certification of breeding and production cattle to GB directly from their premises of origin | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (daera-ni.gov.uk)

3.2. Requirements at the GB approved show/sale

The show or sale must be approved and operate in accordance with EU Export Assembly Rules (APHA approval guidelines).

Segregation of NI animals must be maintained throughout the show/sale and comply with all relevant requirements for entry into the Union. TB testing for cattle and Brucella ovis testing for uncastrated male sheep is to be conducted in NI, as part of the requirements for the export health certificate to GB before movement to the show/sale in GB.

Cattle are moved directly from the establishment of origin in NI to the approved establishment in GB.

Cattle have no contact with animals of a lower health status from the loading for dispatch to GB, for the duration of the event until loading for dispatch to NI, and transport to their premises of destination in NI.

3.3. Re-entry into NI requirements

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 DAERA staff as required. Animals may not leave the Port until a Portal Inspector has authorised such departure.

Pre-notification: All consignments of cattle must be pre-notified to DAERA at Larne Harbour  on TRACES-NT using a CHED-A. The importer or person responsible for the consignment must be registered on TRACES NT before the import can take place. Guidance on TRACES NT registration, pre-notification and CHED A completion can be found at this link. Pre-notification on TRACES NT must be completed at least 24 hours before arrival.

Export health certificate (EHC): The animals to be imported must be accompanied by an original health certificate EHC 8462. The health certificate must be signed by an Official Veterinarian (OV) appointed by the appropriate authority in Great Britain. Fulfilment of these conditions is a matter for consideration between the exporter and their OV in GB. The necessary health certificate and the conditions therein required for export from GB to NI can be viewed at the following link: Ungulates moving from an event, exhibition, display or show in Great Britain to the Union or Northern Ireland: certificate 8462 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Cleansing and disinfection: The transport vehicle must be cleansed so as to remove all visible organic matter. It must be disinfected with a disinfectant approved by Defra prior to loading of the animals. During transport the imported animals must not come into contact with animals that are not certified as being of the same health status.

3.4. Post NI import requirements

Restriction at destination: Following clearance and release from the port of landing in NI, the imported cattle must be moved directly to the holding of destination in Northern Ireland as shown in the health certificate and must remain there for a period of at least 30 days. A restriction notice will be in place to that effect.

The importer must confirm movement of the animals onto the farm by submitting form MC2 to their local DAERA Office

3.5. Welfare during transport requirements

This journey is classed as a commercial transport and as such, all requirements under ‘The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006’ and Council Regulation EC 1/2005 must be complied with. Further guidance on these requirements is available vie the following links:

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/welfare-animals-during-transport   

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/transporter-authorisation-certificates-competence-vehicle-approval-and-journey-log-rules-1st-january

3.6. Useful links

importer checklist for show cattle

Animal transport certificate

Northern Ireland Online Tariff: Look up commodity codes, duty and VAT rates - GOV.UK (trade-tariff.service.gov.uk)

4. Transit through NI for onwards travel to other EU MS

4.1. Identification requirements

Cattle transiting through Northern Ireland for onward travel to other EU member states must comply with the EU's rules on the identification and movement of animals. Operators keeping bovine animals have to ensure (see Article 112 of the Animal Health Law, Regulation (EU) 2016/429EN•••) that the animals are individually identified by means of a conventional ear tag attached to each ear flap of the animal with a visible, legible and indelible display of the identification.

Cattle for export to the EU or NI will need an additional export tag bearing the ISO country identifier as well as the animal’s individual ID number.

In England, for cattle the ISO code must be GB. In Wales and Scotland, GB or 826 can be used.

In addition to individual identification, cattle must also be accompanied by a passport document. More information on this can be found on the official website of the European Commission here

4.2. Disease control import requirement

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 DAERA staff as required. Animals may not leave the Port until a Portal Inspector has authorised such departure.

Pre-notification: All consignments of cattle must be pre-notified to DAERA at Larne Harbour  on TRACES-NT using a CHED-A. The importer or person responsible for the consignment must be registered on TRACES NT before the import can take place. Guidance on TRACES NT registration, pre-notification and CHED A completion can be found at this link. Pre-notification on TRACES NT must be completed at least 24 hours before arrival.

Export health certificate (EHC): The cattle must have a valid health certificate issued by a government veterinarian in the country of origin. For GB origin animals, the relevant certificate as per country of destination is accessible here. For EU origin animals, you should contact the competent authority in the EU Member State of origin for further information. More information on health certificates can be found on the European Commission's website here

Additional requirements: You should contact the country of destination to verify any additional import conditions specific to that particular Member State. Please click this link for further information on BCP contact details.

ROI destination: Cattle destined for Republic of Ireland (ROI): Cattle moving to the ROI for breeding and production must meet additional BVD requirements. Further guidance is available here.

Cleansing and disinfection: The transport vehicle must be cleansed so as to remove all visible organic matter. It must be disinfected with a disinfectant approved by Defra prior to loading of the animals. During transport the imported animals must not come into contact with animals that are not certified as being of the same health status.

4.3. Welfare during transport requirements

This journey is classed as a commercial transport and as such, all requirements under ‘The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006’ and Council Regulation EC 1/2005 must be complied with. Further guidance on these requirements is available vie the following links:

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/welfare-animals-during-transport  

https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/transporter-authorisation-certificates-competence-vehicle-approval-and-journey-log-rules-1st-january

4.4. Useful links

Importer checklist for transit cattle

Animal transport certificate

Bovine animals (europa.eu)

 

Related articles

Back to top