Bovine Animals

Bovine Animals

​Intra-Union Trade of Bovines

The Intra-Union trade rules for bovine animals solely govern the movement of bovine animals between EU Member States.

Requirements before and during dispatch:

The animal health requirements for Intra-Union trade in bovine animals are laid down in Council Directive 64/432/EEC of 26 June 1964. This Directive, which has been amended several times, harmonises the rules for Intra-Union trade in bovine animals and establishes the animal health guarantees needed for the trade in these animals between the Member States but it does not apply to movements within an individual Member State.

  • The objective of this harmonisation is to ensure that the same requirements are applied for trade between all the Member States thereby ensuring the safe and free circulation of the animals in the EU territory.

  • The Directive lays down precise rules (e.g. prohibition of contact with other animals during the travel, cleaning and disinfection of means of transport, etc.) to be respected during the movement of bovine animals from the holding of origin to the final destination (another holding or a slaughterhouse) to try to avoid any possible spread of serious disease in the EU. These movements may involve the use of approved assembly centres.

In addition there are rules regarding the health status in relation to animal diseases (e.g. tuberculosis, brucellosis and leukosis) and provisions for tests to detect these diseases to be carried out by the official veterinarians. A holding, a region of a Member State or the whole of a Member State may even be declared officially free from one or more of the above diseases to facilitate trade. The lists of Member States and regions thereof declared officially free of bovine tuberculosis, bovine brucellosis and enzootic-bovine-leukosis are set out in Commission Decision 2003/467/EC of 23 June 2003. 

Moreover, Article 9 of Directive 64/432/EEC provides that a Member State, which has a compulsory national control programme for one of the contagious diseases listed in Annex E (II) to that Directive, may submit its programme to the Commission for approval. That Article also provides for the definition of the additional guarantees which may be required in Intra-Union trade

Article 10 of Directive 64/432/EEC provides that where a Member State considers that its territory or part thereof is free from one of the diseases listed in Annex E(II) to that Directive, it is to present appropriate supporting documentation to the Commission. That Article also provides for the definition of the additional guarantees which may be required in Intra-Union trade. 

Commission Decision 2004/558/EC of 15 July 2004 approves the programmes for the control and eradication of the infection with the bovine herpesvirus type 1 (‘BHV1’) presented by the Member States listed in Annex I to that Decision for the regions listed in that Annex, and for which additional guarantees for BHV1 apply in accordance with Article 9 of Directive 64/432/EEC. Annex II to that Decision lists the regions of the Member States that are considered free of BHV1 infection and for which additional guarantees apply in accordance with Article 10 of Directive 64/432/EEC. 

Furthermore, in accordance with Article 8 of Directive 64/432/EEC, Member States are requested to forward to the Commission, by 31st May each year, details of the occurrence of diseases listed in Annex E (I) to the Directive and of any other diseases covered by the additional guarantees provided for by Union legislation in its territory referred to the previous calendar year.

  • Traceability is a key component of animal health control. Hence animals must be appropriately identified to ensure that when animals are presented for dispatch to another Member State, they can be subsequently accounted for on arrival at the place of destination.

  • The Directive provides also for a harmonised veterinary health certificate in which, prior to dispatch, the official veterinarian attests that the animals fulfil all the requirements for Intra-Union trade. This accompanies the animal and the movement must be recorded in TRACES. If assembly centres are involved, additional veterinary certification is required.

At the destination

The TRACES tracking system provides an important tool to ensure compliance because it allows Malta, as the receiving Member State, to verify that the consignment arriving at the destination corresponds to that specified in the original veterinary health certificate accompanying the animals from the Member State of origin.

Importation of Bovines

The importation rules for bovine animals solely govern the introduction of bovine animals into the Malta from third countries.

The following rules must be respected before bovine animals can be imported into Malta:

1. Bovine animals must fulfil the animal health requirements laid down in Council Directive 2004/68/EC of 26 April 2004. This Directive harmonises the rules and establishes the general animal health conditions for the import into the territory of the Union of bovine animals.

The objective of this harmonisation is to make sure that the same princi​ples for importation of bovine animals are applied in all the Member States and prevent animals from entering EU territory carrying infectious diseases that are dangerous for livestock or humans.

Directive 2004/68/EC describes the animal health principles on which importation is based, and the requirements to be fulfilled by a third country to be authorised to export bovine animals. The most important aspects are:

The legislation of the third country.

The health status of livestock, of other domestic animals and wildlife.

​Membership of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The regularity and rapidity of information on infectious animal diseases provided by the third country to the Commission and the OIE.

The animal health requirements for the production, manufacture, handling, storage and dispatch of products of animal origin.

The Maltese rules on the prevention and control of animal diseases.

The organisation, structure, competence and power of the veterinary services.

In addition, other more specific conditions are laid down in this Directive as regards certain infectious diseases. For example, third countries have to be free from the most important diseases (e.g. foot and mouth disease and Rinderpest).

Under Directive 2004/68/EC it is possible to regionalise a country. This means that depending on the animal health situation and the guarantees offered by that country, only a part of its territory may be authorised to export to the EU.

2. Before a third country, territory or part of it is authorised to export bovine animals into the EU, the Commission inspection service of the health and Consumers Directorate General, DG SANCO (FVO - Food and Veterinary Office, located in Grange – Ireland) carries out a mission to verify that all the criteria provided for in Directive 2004/68/EC are properly fulfilled.

3.Based on the principles contained in Council Directive 2004/68/EC and on the results of the FVO mission, the third country, territory or part thereof may be added to the list of third countries, territories or parts thereof authorised for the export of bovine animals as laid down in Commission Regulation (EU) No 206/2010, as last amended. Imports of domestic bovine animals shall only be authorised from those third countries, territories or parts thereof where a specific model of veterinary certificate is foreseen in Part 1 of Annex I of that Regulation (column 4). For domestic bovine animals, a third country, territory or part thereof can be listed for the import of:

Animals for breeding and production under certificate Bov-X, and/or

Animals for immediate slaughter after importation under certificate Bov-Y

4. When a third country, territory or part thereof has been listed in Regulation (EU) No. 206/2010, then it is approved in principle for export to the EU. However, further steps are needed before exports of live domestic bovine animals can take place. An assessment of the specific disease situation is carried out and if necessary, additional requirements may be requested to minimise potential disease risks. These are laid down in Part 1 of Annex I of Regulation (EU) No. 206/2010, and include:

Supplementary guarantees (column 5) Depending on the health status of the third country in relation to bluetongue and epizootic-haemorrhagic disease, additional health guarantees may be required before animals can be imported into the EU. When it is necessary for a third country to fulfil these supplementary guarantees, it is indicated by an 'A' in column 5.

Specific conditions (column 6) These give specific requirements based on the animal and public health status in a listed third country, and indicate when additional health guarantees are required by particular Member States (e.g. freedom for IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis)), or where a third country, territory or part thereof is recognised as being disease free, and hence where animal and public health requirements can be less stringent.

When additional requirements are necessary, the official veterinary in the exporting third country must ensure that the relevant sections are completed in the veterinary health certificate.

5. Bovine animals being presented for entry into Malta must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate. The relevant certificates for bovines (certificate BOV-X for animals for breeding and production, and certificate BOV-Y for animals for immediate slaughter) are laid down in Part 2 of Annex I to Regulation (EU) No. 206/2010. Basic information on the third country of origin, the place of destination and the identification of animals in the consignment must be included in the certificate. It also contains:

  • A public health attestation to guarantee that the third country complies with certain public health requirements including that the animals are from holdings that are free from certain zoonotic diseases (brucellosis, anthrax and rabies), have not received certain pharmaceutical treatments and hormones and confirm to certain requirements in relation to BSE.

  • An animal health attestation to guarantee that the animals, and/or the herd of origin are free from certain diseases, that the animals are healthy and that their underlying health status does not to present a risk to Union livestock, and that the animals have been inspected prior to movement. If appropriate, conformity to additional supplementary guarantees should be indicated if required.

  • An animal transport attestation to signify that the welfare standards laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004, as last amended, including as regards feeding and watering, have been complied with, and that the animals are fit to travel.

An official veterinarian in the authorised third country must sign the certificate to attest that all the relevant conditions in the certificate have been met. The certification must accompany the animals en-route to the EU and when they are presented for entry into Malta’s Border Inspection Post (BIP) (see 7 below).

6. It should be noted that in order to import live bovine animals, third countries must also comply with certain public health requirements. 

7. Live animals entering the Union are inspected at a Border Inspection Post (BIP) (as listed in Commission Decision 2009/821/EC of 28 September 2009, as last amended) where official veterinarians ensure they fulfil all the requirements provided for in the EU legislation. (Council Directive 91/496/EEC of 15 July 1991, as last amended, lays down the principles governing the organisation of veterinary checks on animals entering the Union from third countries).

8. Importers must complete relevant sections of a common veterinary entry document (CVED) prior to entry into the EU. For live animals from third countries, the CVED is laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 282/2004 of 18 February 2004, as last amended, and the relevant information must be sent, either manually or electronically via the TRACES system, to the border inspection post of entry at least one working day before the expected arrival of the animal(s).

The CVED provides a standardised format for documentation relating to declaration and checks for live animals arriving into the Union so that data on imported consignments can be properly managed and processed within TRACES, the EU's integrated veterinary traceability system. To use the TRACES application, please visit Online training is provided at To learn more about TRACES or for further information please contact our Department on 21650393.

9. Animals of a lower that Union's health status cannot transit the Union.

A summary providing ' General guidance for third country authorities on procedures to be followed when importing live animals and animal products into the EU' can be found.