Rabies susceptible animals

Importer Information Note – Movement of rabies susceptible animals under the Balai Directive (Council Directive 92/65/EEC) into Great Britain (IIN BLLV 5)

1. Scope

The conditions that apply to movement of certain rabies susceptible animals (listed in Schedule 1, Parts 1 and 2 of the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974, laid down in Council Directive 92/65/EEC (as amended), known as the Balai Directive. The Balai Directive covers animals and products which are not covered by other EU legislation.

2. Commercial trade in Rabies susceptible animals – conditions for EU trade

This Importer Information Note covers those species listed below that can be commercially imported. It is broadly broken down into Lagomorphs (rabbits and hares); mink and foxes; cats, dogs and ferrets; bats and other carnivores.

Consignments should be notified to local AHVLA office and, if a certificate is required, it should be entered onto the TRACES system.

(a) Lagomorphs (hares and rabbits)

Lagomorphs can be imported from EU Member States without undergoing quarantine provided that they can meet the following conditions:

  • they do not come from, nor have been, in contact with animals that have come from a holding on which rabies is present or suspected to have been present in the last month;
  • they come from a holding on which there are no signs of myxomatosis;
  • they were born on a registered holding and kept there in captivity since birth; and
  • are accompanied by a certificate based on Part 1, Annex E of Council Directive 92/65/EEC (as amended) with the additional declaration ‘I the undersigned ……., certify that the above consignment satisfies the requirements of Article 9 of Directive 92/65/EEC and that the animals show no sign of disease on examination’.

If these conditions cannot be met they must undergo quarantine. Contact the Pets Travel Team for further information (see section 3).

(b) Rodents, Hyraxes, Xenarthra, Eulipotyphyla, Marsupials and Dermoptera

Rodents hyraxes, xenarthra, eulipotyphyla, marsupials and dermoptera can be imported from Member States without undergoing quarantine providing that they meet the following conditions:

  • they were born in the holding of origin and kept there in captivity since birth;
  • they do not show any obvious signs of disease;
  • they do not come from a holding subject to any animal health restrictions; and
  • they are accompanied by an owners certificate confirming these conditions

If these conditions cannot be met they must undergo quarantine.  Contact the Pets Travel Team for further information (see section 3).

(c) Mink and foxes

Mink and foxes must be accompanied with a certificate in accordance with Annex E I stating that the animals come from a holding on which rabies has not been present in the past 6 months and that they have not been in contact with animals or holdings in which rabies is suspected. They are required to spend 4 months in quarantine. Mink and foxes are banned where they have been in contact with an animal which has had rabies or suspected of having it.

(d) Cats, dogs and ferrets

Cats, dogs and ferrets may be imported without undergoing quarantine providing that they meet the following conditions:

  • they are from a holding or business registered with the EU Member State of origin;
  • be identified by a microchip prior to vaccination*;
  • after the age of 3 months be vaccinated against rabies*;
  • after vaccination remain at the holding or business for a minimum of 21 days;
  • in the case of dogs (other than those from Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta) be treated for echinococcus not less than 24 hours and not more than 5 days prior to arrival in the UK;
  • be accompanied by a passport containing a rabies vaccination record modelled on Annex 1 of Commission Decision 2003/803/EC or a third country certificate based on Annex I of Commission Decision 2011/874/EU; and
  • be accompanied by a certificate that confirms 24 hours before dispatch a clinical examination was carried out by a vet authorised by the competent authority showing that the animal is fit and healthy to travel

*Importers should note that the commercial and non-commercial movements for unvaccinated cats, dogs and ferrets under the age of 3 months is not allowed.

Paragraph 2 of Article 6 of Regulation (EC) 998/2003 states that, unless a Competent Authority grants a derogation in specific cases, animals under three months old of the species listed in Part A of Annex 1 may not be moved before they reach the required age for vaccination and, where provided for in the rules, they have undergone a test to determine antibody titration.  The UK has no such derogation.

If these conditions cannot be met the animal must undergo post import quarantine. Contact the Pets Travel Team for further information (see section 3).

Pet cats, dogs and ferrets are subject to different rules. For further information please see the Travelling with pets pages of the Defra website.

(e) Bats

Bats must spend 4 months in quarantine, excluding vampire bats, which must spend their lives in quarantine premises.

(f) Other carnivores and other rabies susceptible animals

All other animals covered by Schedule 1, Part II of The Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974 (as amended) must spend 4 months in quarantine unless they are previously exempted by licence.

3. Imports from third countries

Imports of rabies susceptible animals from countries outside the EU will need a licence under the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order and should also be authorised under the Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations which may require additional animal health guarantees from the exporting country.  Please contact the Specialist Service Centre for Imports for further information.

4. Rabies quarantine

 The Rabies ( Importation of Dogs, Cats and other mammals ) Order ( As amended) , requires that rabies susceptible animals are quarantined for four months on arrival into the UK. The list of species covered by the Order can be found in the Notes for Guidance on Completion of the form (RM(GN)). Carnivores, primates and bats are always subject to licensing. It is possible to import of some animals into Zoo or Wildlife Parks, covered by the Order, without the need for quarantine, providing certain conditions can be met. In order to decide if quarantine is necessary an application form (RM1) has been produced which, when completed fully, will enable a quick decision to be made. The species listed in a) and b) above will need licensing if imported from 3rd countries or if they do not meet the balai conditions. Applications (RM1) for import licences should sent to  the Specialist Service Centre for Imports ( SSCI) , Chelmsford no later than four weeks before the proposed import date. SSCI Chelmsford will then carry out a risk assessment based on the information contained in the RM1. If an exemption can be granted a landing licence ID102 will be issued. If quarantine is required the importer will be notified by SSCI and a landing licence RM3 will be issued.

 For a copy of the form or the guidance note contact the SSCI.

5. Norway/Liechtenstein/Switzerland

The EU has International Agreements with Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which means that they implement EU veterinary legislation in relation to the movement of live animals.  Therefore live animals from Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein must comply with the same requirements applying to live animals from Member States.

6. Welfare of animals during transport

Importers are reminded that they must comply with rules on the welfare of animals during transport. For information on the rules see the Defra website.

7. Endangered species

The import of some species of rabies susceptible animals may require export and import certificates under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). CITES permits must be issued in advance and applicants should apply for their permits 30 days prior to importation. Those species requiring CITES permits must be moved in compliance with CITES guidelines for the transport and preparation for shipment of live animals.

For further information please contact the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency(AHVLA) –  Wildlife Licensing and Registration Service (WLRS)

8. Controls on non-native species

Some species of animals which are not native to the UK may have controls which prohibit their release and control how they may be kept or used within the UK.  Further information is available on  the non-native species section of the Defra website.

8. Death of animals in transit

If an imported animal dies in transit to, or at a port or airport in England, the  person in charge of the animal must report its death, together with any other relevant information, to the AHVLA local office; and the carcase of any such animal may only be disposed of in accordance with any directions given by a veterinary inspector.

9. Safeguard measures

These notes do not cover situations where emergency safeguard action has been taken, at very short notice, to prohibit or restrict the importation of certain animals from certain countries following an outbreak of serious disease in those countries may not be covered. Importers are advised to contact the AHVLA to check if any action has been taken in relation to the current status of any particular country. Details of safeguard measures can also be found in our Declarations and Customer Information Notes.

Alternatively you can keep up to date with amendments to legislation by checking the European Commission’s website.

10. European Union legislation

Consolidated texts, which integrate the basic instruments of Union legislation with their amendments and corrections in a single, non-official document, are available. Each consolidated text contains a list of all legal documents taken into account for its construction.

Texts provided in this section are intended for information only. Please note that these texts have no legal value. For legal purposes please refer to the texts published in the ‘Official Journal of the European Union’.

For non-consolidated legislation, please use the simple search option on the European Commission’s website.

11. Contacts for general information on import requirements

12.  Contacts for other important advice and guidance

Importers should note that the information given relates only to animal health and public health conditions of import. It does not give guidance on other conditions that may need to be met.

The information sheet below gives details of other organisations you may also need to consult.

Page last modified: 3 December 2012