Livestock transports to third countries

Transporting animals, notably over long distances, can place a great strain on the animals. Such transports should therefore be avoided as far as possible on animal welfare grounds.This applies, in particular, to the transport of slaughter animals over long distances which should, if possible, be replaced by meat transports.

However, national and Community legislation do not enable the authorities to impose a general ban on long slaughter animal transports. This also applies to transports to third countries, i.e. countries that are not members of the European Union.

Veterinary certificates coordinated by the BMEL ensure harmonised sanitary export requirements.

The export of animals and animal products is not generally subject to a veterinary certificate coordinated between the BMEL and the veterinary service of the third country. Veterinary certificates are also provided directly to the market operators by the third countries or directly agreed between the trading partners if the competent authorities of the third country agree with such an approach. However, the veterinary certificates agreed by the BMEL have the advantage that the sanitary export requirements have been harmonised for all exports from Germany to the respective third country. The negotiations also provide an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the third country and discuss subjects relating to animal health and animal welfare. It is a matter of special concern to the BMEL to include discussions about animal welfare requirements in future negotiations with third countries and to incorporate these requirements into the agreed export veterinary certificates.

The agreed veterinary certificates are available to the competent Länder veterinary authorities for the certification of consignments dispatched to third countries.

In addition, there are harmonised EU veterinary certificates for animals and animal products, which have been agreed between the EU and certain third countries such as the Russian Federation.

Strict national and Community law provisions apply to the protection of animals during long transports

All animal transports to third countries are subject to Community and national rules and are monitored by the competent authorities of the Member States. After leaving the customs territory of the Community, a veterinarian who has the requisite qualification generally carries out the checks at any place where there is a change of means of transport and also at the place of the first unloading in the third country of final destination. The so-called third country of final destination is the country where the first animal is unloaded from the vehicle for the final time.

As a rule, the third country's applicable veterinary or food hygiene import requirements are decisive when it comes to the exportation of animal and animal products to third countries. If a third country is interested in live animals or animal products, it is not mandatory to have a veterinary certificate that has been agreed between the BMEL and the third country. If, however, export takes place and a veterinary certificate that has been agreed upon does exist, the conditions laid down therein must be complied with and certified by the competent official veterinarian. Beyond that, BMEL does not conclude any agreements on the exportation of certain quotas of live animals or animal products. Whether such an exportation actually takes place, is entirely dependent on whether industry decides to do so.

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