Ovine Caprine Animals

Ovine Caprine Animals

Movement of Ovine/Caprine species into Malta is clearly defined in relation of the purpose of the movement in: INTRA-UNION TRADE or IMPORTATION.

Intra-Union trade

The intra-Union trade rules for ovine/caprine animals solely govern the movement between EU Member States.

Requirements before and during dispatch:

The animal health requirements for intra-Union trade of ovine and caprine animals are laid down in Council Directive 91/68/EEC of 28 January 1991. This Directive harmonises the rules for intra-Union trade for sheep and goats and establishes the animal health guarantees needed for the trade of these animals between Member States.

•  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 ovine and caprine 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.

•  In addition there are rules regarding the health status in relation to animal diseases (e.g. brucellosis) and provisions for tests to detect the presence of disease to be carried out by official veterinarians. A farm, a region of a Member State or the whole of a Member State may even be declared free from a certain disease to facilitate trade. Commission Decision 93/52/EEC of 21 December 1992 lists the Member States and regions thereof which are recognised as officially free of brucellosis (B. melitensis) in accordance with Directive 91/68/EEC. 

•  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, an 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.

NOTE: Following the FMD epidemic in 2001 where the movement of sheep contributed to a large extent to the spread of disease between Member States, Council Directive 2003/50/EC of 11 June 2003 amends Directive 91/68/EEC to reinforce the controls on movements of ovine and caprine animals between the Member States. Although the Directive gives some provision for derogation in some circumstances, the new requirements may be summarised as follows:

A 30-day minimum period of residence on a single holding of origin immediately prior to dispatch for all sheep and goats destined for intra-Union trade (21 days for animals moved for slaughter only); 

A minimum 21-day standstill period shall apply (i.e. no ovine or caprine animals can be introduced to the holding of origin) prior to sheep and goats leaving the holding for intra-Union trade. The standstill period is increased to at least 30 days following the introduction of biungulate animals imported from a third country; 

Animal shall be consigned directly to the destination in another Member State, but may, where necessary, transit through a single assembly centre (or approved dealers premises in the case of ovine and caprine animals being moved for slaughter) in the Member State of origin. 

At the arrival at destination:

Because there are no border controls for movements between the Member States, non-discriminatory spot checksare carried out at the point of origin and at the destination according to Council Directive 90/425/EEC , as last amended, to ensure that consignments are in compliance with the guarantees provided by the health certificate.

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


Importation rules for ovine and caprine animals solely govern the introduction of ovine and caprine animals into the EU from third countries.

The following rules must be respected before ovine and caprine animals can be imported into Malta:

1. Ovine and caprine animals must fulfil the animal health requirements laid down in Council Directive 72/462/EEC of 12 December 1972. This Directive, which has been amended several times, harmonises the rules and establishes the general animal health conditions for the import into the territory of the Community of ovine and caprine animals.

The objective of this harmonisation is to make sure that the same principles for importation of sheep and goats 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 72/462/EEC 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 ovine and caprine animals. The most important aspects are: 

o the legislation of the third country. 

o the health status of livestock, of other domestic animals and wild life. 

o the regularity and rapidity of information on infectious animal diseases provided by the third country to the Commission and the world animal health organisation ( OIE). 

o the country's rules on the prevention and control of animal diseases. 

o 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, bluetongue, sheep and goat pox and rinderpest). 

Under Directive 72/462/EEC 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 or part of it is initially authorised to export sheep and goats into the EU, the Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) carries out a mission to verify that all the criteria provided for in Directive 72/462/EC are properly fulfilled.

3. Based on the principles contained in Directive 72/462/EEC and on the results of the FVO mission, the third country may be added to the list of third countries authorised for the export of sheep and goats as laid down in Council Decision 79/542/EEC . For a third country wanting to export ovine and caprine animals to the EU it must be listed in this Decision.

4. When a third country or part thereof has been listed in Council Decision 79/452/EEC, then it is approved in principle for export to the EU. However, further steps are needed before exports of live sheep ands goats can take place. An assessment of the specific disease situation is carried out. Special conditionsmay be required to minimise potential disease risks. These conditions will be laid down in specific decisions and are reflected in the requirements laid down in the veterinary animal health certificate, which must accompany all ovine and caprine animals entering the EU.

In the case of ovine and caprine animals for slaughter, breeding and production , the animal health conditions and veterinary certification for imports are laid down in Commission Decision 93/198/EEC of 17 February 1993, as last amended. This includes specific conditions under which imported animals may be recognised as fulfilling equivalent Brucellosis-free status as the EU flock of destination.

The third countries from which Member States can authorise imports of sheep and goats are listed in Commission Decision 97/232/EC . A description of the approved region of the country is also given where appropriate. The Decision also recognises those third countries that satisfy the requirements for brucellosis-free status. 

(However, as from 1st May 2004, the model animal health certificate for ovine and caprine imports will be consolidated within Council Decision 79/452/EC (and the above two Decisions will be revoked)

5. Live animals entering the Community are inspected at a Border Inspection Post (BIP) (as listed in Commission Decision 2001/881/EC of 7 December 2001) where Member States' official veterinarians ensure they are healthy and fulfil all the requirements provided for in the European legislation. ( Council Directive 91/496/EEC of 15 July 1991 lays down the principles governing the organisation of veterinary checks on animals entering the Community from third countries).

6. It should be noted that in order to import live ovine and caprine animals, third countries must also comply with certain public health requirements . For example, a country is required to have an approved ' residue' plan.

7. Animals of a lower Community health status cannot transit the Community. ​