General requirements for movements of animals within the Union

NB! Information about Brexit.

Movements of live animals and germinal products present a risk of spreading animal diseases. In order to prevent the spread of animal diseases, movements of animals within the Union are regulated under EU legislation specific to different animal species. This guideline describes the general requirements for movements of kept terrestrial animals between the EU internal market and Finland. The requirements specific to different species are presented in separate guidelines for each species. Separate guidelines have also been issued for movements of germinal products and aquaculture animals.

The EU internal market refers to the EU Member States as well as countries treated as EU Member States on the basis of an agreement between the EU and the country in question. For all kept terrestrial animals, the internal market comprises not only of the EU Member States but also of Norway and Switzerland.

Movements within the union refer to all movements of live animals and germinal products from Finland to other EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland, or from these countries to Finland.

This guideline contains

  • registration in the TRACES-system,
  • general requirements applicable to animals that are to be moved and their establishments of origin,
  • the minimum information required for the animal health certificate accompanying the animals,
  • attestation of animal welfare,
  • requirements applicable to the means of transport used to transport animals;
  • requirements applicable to the containers used to transport animals.

In addition to meeting the above mentioned requirements, the animals that are to be transported must be fit for transport, and the official veterinarian signing the health certificate must provide an attestation of animal welfare.

Registration in the TRACES-system

All intra-Union trade operators who move animals and whose movements require an animal health certificate must register in the TRACES-system. See instructions for registration on the Finnish Food Authority's website. Once the operator has registered, the system informs the local Regional State Administrative Agency of the registration, and the provincial veterinarian activates the operator's TRACES ID. The system then sends a notification to the operator that the ID has been activated.

An operator who is registered in the TRACES-system can draw up Part I of the health certificate required for intra-Union trade in the system when they intend to move animals to another EU Member State. The operator can monitor all health certificates related to their activities in the system. The system also contains all health certificate models for intra-Union trade.

Registration of an establishment

The health certificate which is issued by the official veterinarian of the country of dispatch, and which accompanies the consignment must indicate the registered or approved establishment from which the animals are dispatched. The importer should be entered as the consignee. The place of destination is the registered or approved establishment to which the animals will arrive in Finland. Registration of the establishment is not required when a private person imports a dog, cat or ferret for themselves in a commercial purpose. No animal health certificate is required for non-commercial movements of dogs, cats or ferrets.

General requirements applicable to animals

Operators may only move kept terrestrial animals to another Member State if the animals fulfil the following conditions:

  1. they show no symptoms of disease;
  2. they come from a registered or approved establishment,
    1. where there are no abnormal mortalities with an undetermined cause;
    2. which is not subject to movement restrictions affecting the species which are to be moved;
    3. which is not situated in a restriction zone;
  3. the animals have not been in contact with kept terrestrial animals which are subject to movement restrictions or kept terrestrial animals of a listed species of a lower health status, for an adequate period of time prior to the date of the intended movement to another Member State, thereby minimising the possibility of spreading disease, taking into account the following matters:
    1. the incubation period and routes of transmission of the listed diseases and emerging diseases in question;
    2. the type of establishment concerned;
    3. the species and category of kept terrestrial animals moved;
    4. other epidemiological factors;
  4. the animals fulfil the relevant requirements of the Animal Health Law.

Operators shall take all necessary measures to ensure that kept terrestrial animals moved to another Member State are consigned directly to their place of destination in that other Member State unless they need to stop at a place of resting for animal welfare reasons.

Animal health certificate

Operators must ensure that the animals are accompanied by an animal health certificate (TRACES certificate). The following kept terrestrial animals are required to have an animal health certificate issued by the competent authority of the Member of State of origin:

  1. ungulates;
  2. poultry;
  3. kept terrestrial animals other than ungulates and poultry, intended for a confined establishment;
  4. kept terrestrial animals other than those referred to above when required in accordance with separate provisions.

The animal health certificate shall contain the following information:

  1. the name and address of the consignor and the consignee;
  2. the name and address of the establishment of dispatch, and
    1. where the establishment of dispatch is an approved establishment, the unique approval number of that establishment; or
    2. where the establishment of dispatch is a registered establishment, the unique registration number of that establishment;
  3. the name and address of the establishment of destination, and
    1. where the establishment of dispatch is an approved establishment, the unique approval number of that establishment; or
    2. where the establishment of dispatch is a registered establishment, the unique registration number of that establishment;
  4. the species and category of animals and identification, where required;
  5. information on the animal health situation and additional guarantees in relation to:
    1. the Member State or zone of origin;
    2. the establishment and flock of origin of the animals, including test results where applicable;
    3. the animals to be dispatched, including test results or vaccinations where applicable;
  6. the date and place of issue and period of validity of the animal health certificate, the name, capacity and signature of the official veterinarian, and the stamp of the competent authority of the place of origin of the consignment.

Attestation of animal welfare

The official veterinarian must be able to attest that the animals referred to in the animal health certificate were, at the time of the inspection, fit to be transported for the intended journey in compliance with the provisions of the Regulation on the protection of animals during transport. The attestation of the official veterinarian does not relieve transporters of their obligations as regards the condition of the animals to be transported.

General requirements applicable to the means of transport

Means of transport refers to road or rail vehicles, vessels and aircraft used for the transport of animals.

Operators, including animal transporters, shall ensure that the means of transport used for transporting kept terrestrial animals or hatching eggs, are

  1. constructed in such a way that
    1. animals or hatching eggs cannot escape or fall out;
    2. visual inspection of the space where animals are kept is possible;
    3. the escape of animal excrements, litter or feed is prevented or minimised;
    4. in the case of poultry and captive birds, the escape of feathers is prevented or minimised;
  2. cleaned and disinfected as soon as possible after every transport of animals representing an animal health risk, and, if necessary, cleaned and disinfected again and in any case dried or allowed to dry before any new loading of animals or hatching eggs.

General requirements applicable to containers

Container means any crate, box, receptacle, or other rigid structure used for the transport of animals which is not a means of transport.

Operators, including animal transporters, shall ensure that containers in which kept terrestrial animals and hatching eggs are transported

  1. comply with the requirements of subparagraph (a) of the requirements applicable to the means of transport;
  2. contain only animals or hatching eggs of the same species, category and type, and of the same health status;
  3. are/is
    1. either unused and purpose-designed disposable containers to be destroyed after first use;
      or
    2. cleaned and disinfected after use and dried or allowed to dry before any potential subsequent use.

In the case of poultry and hatching eggs, operators, including transporters, shall ensure that containers in which kept poultry and hatching eggs are transported in the means of transport bear the following indications:

  1. for day-old chicks and hatching eggs:
    1. the name of the Member State of origin;
    2. the approval or registration number of the establishment of origin;
    3. the species of poultry concerned;
    4. the number of animals or hatching eggs;
  2. for breeding poultry and production poultry, the approval or registration number of the establishment of origin.
Page last updated 1/20/2023