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Veterinary and zootechnical checks of animals and products of animal origin for intra-Community trade

Directive 90/425/EEC lays down rules relating to veterinary and zootechnical checks to be applied to live animals and products of animal origin for intra-Community trade. This legislation abolishes veterinary and zootechnical checks at the Union's internal borders and reinforces those carried out at the point of origin, during transit and at the place of destination.

ACT

Council Directive 90/425/EEC of 26 June 1990 concerning veterinary and zootechnical checks applicable in intra-Community trade in certain live animals and products with a view to the completion of the internal market [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

Live animals and products of animal origin

This Directive and its subsequent amendments deal with:

  • veterinary checks * applicable to intra-Community trade in live animals and products of animal origin (semen, ova and embryos) covered by Community legislation (Annex A, Part I of the Directive); and
  • zootechnical checks * on breeds covered by European legislation (Annex A, Part II of the Directive).

This Directive does not apply to the non-commercial movement of pet animals accompanied by a natural person.

Checks at origin

In the Member State of origin, the competent authority must verify, among other things, that the animals and products for trade:

  • meet the requirements of the relevant Directives detailed in Annex A (for the animals and products in Annex A) and comply with the animal health requirements of the Member State of destination (for the animals and products in Annex B);
  • come from holdings, centres or organisations which are subject to regular official veterinary checks;
  • are identified and registered in accordance with the requirements of European law;
  • are accompanied by health certificates and other appropriate documents during transport;
  • do not originate from holdings or regions which are subject to restrictions applying to those animals or products because of the suspicion or existence of certain diseases;
  • come from a country or region offering sufficient health guarantees from the point of view of the country of destination;
  • are transported in accordance with the hygiene rules in force.

Additionally, in the country of origin, the competent authority must carry out checks in holdings, markets and assembly centres to verify that the live animals and products meet European standards, especially as regards identification. Measures will be taken against suppliers or consignors of animals and products who fail to comply with these rules.

Checks on arrival at destination

Non-discriminatory spot checks may be carried out at places of destination. They must enable inspectors to verify that the animals and products intended for trade comply with the requirements applicable to the place of origin (see above). If an infringement is suspected, checks may be carried out during transport.

The consignees of animals and products dispatched from another Member State are responsible for those animals and products upon their arrival at the destination and afterwards, once the transport operation is completed. This applies, for example, to animals intended for markets. Consignees may be required to report in advance to the competent authority of the Member State of destination the arrival of animals or products from another Member State.

If necessary, live animals may be quarantined at the place of destination or in a quarantine station.

Checks may be carried out at the places where live animals and products from third countries may be brought into EU territory, such as ports, airports and frontier posts with third countries. During the checks, Member States must ensure that the following measures are taken:

  • certificates or documents accompanying the animals or products are verified;
  • Community animals or products are subject to the control rules provided by the place of origin;
  • products from third countries are subject to the rules provided for by Directive 97/78/EC;
  • animals from third countries are subject to the rules provided for by Directive 91/496/EEC.

When, during a check, the competent authorities discover:

  • that agents responsible for a disease are present or that the origin of the animals or products is hazardous, the animals or products concerned must be put in quarantine or slaughtered and/or destroyed;
  • that the animals or products do not meet the conditions laid down by European Directives or by national animal health rules, various measures may be taken, including maintenance of the animals or products under supervision, return of the consignment, slaughter or destruction.

Common provisions

If there is an outbreak of zoonosis, disease or any other risk to animal or human health, the Member State of dispatch must take the appropriate preventive and control measures, including restrictions on movement if the risk is serious. The Member State of destination or transit may take precautionary measures such as quarantining. The Commission will examine the situation at the earliest opportunity and will decide on the appropriate action.

The Member States must ensure that dealers who engage in intra-Community trade in the animals and/or products concerned keep a record of deliveries and of the subsequent destination of the animals and products.

In 2004 the Commission put in place a computerised network for linking veterinary authorities: the TRACES system.

Since 1 July 1992 veterinary checks on all live animals have been abolished, in the light of the progress made in relation to checks on animals from third countries and the measures taken to control foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever.

Key terms of the Act
  • veterinary check: any physical check and/or administrative formality which applies to the animals or products referred to in Article 1 and which is intended for the protection, direct or otherwise, of public or animal health;
  • zootechnical check: any physical and/or administrative formality which applies to the animals covered by the Directives mentioned in section II of Annex A and which is intended for the direct or indirect improvement of the breeds.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 90/425/EEC

26.07.1990

31.12.1991

OJ L 224 of 18.08.1990

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 90/675/EEC

18.12.1990

31.12.1991

OJ L 373 of 31.12.1990

Directive 91/496/EEC

19.8.1991

1.12.1991 (Articles 6, 13, 18, 21)
1.7.1992 (other provisions)

OJ L 268 of 24.9.1991

Directive 92/60/EEC

20.7.1992

1.7.1992

OJ L 268 of 14.9.1992

Directive 2009/156/EC

12.8.2010

-

OJ L 192 of 23.7.2010

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 90/425/EEC have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

MODIFICATION OF ANNEXES

Annex A - Community legislation detailing the animals and products covered by this Directive
Directive 90/539/EEC [Official Journal L 303 of 31.10.1990];
Directive 91/68/EEC [Official Journal L 46 of 19.12.1991];
Directive 91/174/EEC [Official Journal L 85 of 05.04.1991];
Directive 91/628/EEC [Official Journal L 340 of 11.12.1991];
Directive 92/65/EEC [Official Journal L 268 of 14.09.1992];
Directive 92/118/EEC [Official Journal L 62 of 15.03.1993];
Directive 2002/33/EC [Official Journal L 315 of 19.11.2002].

Annex B - Other animals and products covered by the Directive
Directive 90/539/EEC [Official Journal L 303 of 31.10.1990];
Directive 91/68/EEC [Official Journal L 46 of 19.12.1991];
Directive 92/60/EEC [Official Journal L 268 of 14.09.1992];
Directive 92/118/EEC [Official Journal L 62 of 15.03.1993].

Last updated: 10.12.2010
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