Imports of animals from Great Britain
Why do we have import controls?
There are controls on bringing livestock into Northern Ireland to try to protect the health of the animals already in the province, and also the health of people, because some animal diseases can be passed from animals to humans.
DARD uses legislation to control imports, and the main tools that it uses for imports from GB are import licences. These licences state what conditions must be met so that animals can be imported, and you must comply with all of them. There are two types of licence:
These are not specific to individual importers and remain continuously valid until revoked due to, for example a disease outbreak and can be used for multiple consignments. There is no requirement to apply in writing.
These are issued to a particular importer for a particular consignment. The usually remain valid for 21 days but can only be used for a single consignment. The importer must apply in writing for a licence prior to importing the animals.
You need to think carefully before importing – importing animals can also import disease!
What diseases are we worried about?
We are concerned about diseases on three different levels:
- preventing the introduction of major exotic diseases, like foot and mouth disease, Avian Influenza, Classical Swine Fever and bluetongue
- preventing the introduction of other diseases which are not present in Northern Ireland such as Maedi Visna
- preventing the further spread of common diseases, like Bovine Brucellosis, Bovine Tuberculosis, Scrapie and ringworm
What types of animals are covered here?
- breeding animals means animals brought in for breeding purposes, e.g. dairy heifers, bulls, ewes
- production animals to be kept for further fattening before slaughter, e.g. stores (bullocks, beef heifers)
- direct Slaughter animals which are those licensed to move directly to slaughter plants
- ornamental Fowl attending shows in Northern Ireland
What do I need to do to import cattle sheep, goats, and pigs?
Following the end of the EU Exit transition period new rules apply for 1 January 2021. You can find detailed guidance on importing here.
What papers do I need?
The best way to remember is to think “S – A – L – E”
S - supplementary certificate - get a blank copy when you apply for your import licence, and send it to the vet in Great Britain for them to complete
A - animal transport certificate – to cover the welfare of the animals when they are on their journey
L - licence to import cattle – this will be a specific import licence, made out in your name, and covering only the number of cattle that you want to import. It will only be valid for 21 days
E - export health certificate – signed by the vet in GB to make sure that the animals are healthy
For more specific information, please use the links below:
- Cattle imports from GB
- Sheep and goat imports from GB
- Pig imports from GB
- Poultry imports from GB
- Horse imports from GB
- Importing other animals from GB
- Moving hay and straw from GB
Importing from the EU
Contact Trade Section (028) 77442 096 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Importing from non-EU countries
Animals and animal products from countries outside the EU must be imported via an approved Border Inspection Posts (BIPs), where they undergo veterinary checks before they are allowed to enter the EU.
Products and live animals generally can only be imported from countries which are on the approved third country import list for that product or animal species. Products of animal origin (POAO) usually must be from establishments approved to export to the EU. Details of approved establishments for products are available on the European Commission’s website. Some finished products, for example leather and dried pasta,are exempt from these controls.
Importer Information Notes - import requirements from DEFRA
More useful links
- Code of Practice for livestock imports
- General import licences for animals/animal products
- Personal imports of meat, meat products, milk and milk products into Northern Ireland
- Imports of reptiles, tortoises, snakes and insects
- Advice to the industry on imports and exports of live animal, animal products and meat
- Application form for imports of animal products
- Application form for imports of live animals
- BIM 4 notification of import of live biungulates for direct slaughter from GB or ROI
- Advice on trade requirements from GB and Continental Europe
- TRACES application form
- Guidance on buying a dog (nidirect website)
Imports into the EU are recorded by the EU wide Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES).
Import controls on live animals and POAO are enforced by DARDNI.
For further information please contact:Veterinary Service Trade Section
1st Floor, Ballykelly House
Telephone: 028 77442 096 or 028 77442 079