Intra-Community trade in ovine and caprine animals

Intra-Community trade in ovine and caprine animals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Intra-Community trade in ovine and caprine animals


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Veterinary checks animal health rules food hygiene

Intra-Community trade in ovine and caprine animals

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 91/68/EEC of 28 January 1991 on animal health conditions governing intra-Community trade in ovine and caprine animals [See amending act(s)].


The animal health conditions governing intra-Community trade in ovine and caprine animals are laid down by Directive 91/68/EEC. This Directive, which has been amended several times, establishes the guarantees regarding animal health required for trade between the Member States. However, the circulation of animals within a Member State is not covered by these rules.

Minimum health conditions

Ovine and caprine animals may only be traded with another Member State if they meet the following conditions:

  • the animals are identified and registered;
  • the animals present no clinical sign of disease during the veterinary inspection (the inspection is held in the 24-hour period prior to the day of loading);
  • the animals are not intended for slaughter under a scheme for eradication of disease;
  • the animals do not originate from a holding subject to prohibition on grounds of health (brucellosis, rabies, anthrax);
  • the animals are not subject to animal health measures under European legislation for the control of foot-and-mouth disease. They have not been vaccinated against foot-and-mouth disease either;
  • the animals are born and reared on EU territory or come from an authorised third country in accordance with European legislation;
  • the animals are kept for a minimum pre-determined period;
  • prior to their dispatch, the animals have not been in contact with other ovine or caprine animals (during the 21 days before dispatch), nor with other ungulates (during the 30 days before dispatch);
  • the animals are dispatched as quickly as possible in order to reduce any risk of contamination.

Additional health conditions

Additional conditions apply to ovine and caprine animals being sent for fattening, reproduction and animal husbandry. In the last two cases the Directive lays down additional controls for certain diseases including Maedi Visna, caprine viral arthritis/encephalitis, contagious agalactia or paratuberculosis.

Financing national programmes

Community financing may be used to help implement national programmes for the control of foot-and-mouth disease, brucellosis, contagious epididymitis in rams, anthrax and rabies. Financing is granted where the programmes in question are approved by the Commission.

Assembly centres

Assembly centres where the ovine and caprine animals are separated into consignments must respect certain animal health conditions and be inspected regularly by the competent authorities. Furthermore, a registration and approval system for animal dealers ensures adequate sanitary conditions during trading and, where applicable, during the time spent by animals on their own premises.

All the assembly centres are registered. Each one receives a veterinary registration number. The list of assembly centres and their veterinary registration numbers is regularly updated by the Member States. The latter then transmit these details to the other Member States and the public.

Transport of animals

The transport of animals, in particular vehicle hygiene, the isolation of transported animals and animal health certificates must also comply with certain criteria laid down in the Directive.


The competent authority in each Member State carries out regular inspections whilst ensuring compliance with this Directive.


Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 91/68/EEC


Articles 7 and 8: 4.4.1991
Other: 31.12.1992

OJ L 46, 19.2.1991

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2001/10/EC



OJ L 147, 31.5.2001

Directive 2003/50/EC



OJ L 169, 8.7.2003

Regulation (EC) No 806/2003


OJ L 122, 16.5.2003

Directive 2006/104/EC


OJ L 363, 20.12.2006

Directive 2008/73/EC


OJ L 219, 14.8.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 91/68/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Related Acts

Commission Decision 93/52/EEC of 21 December 1992 recording the compliance by certain Member States or regions with the requirements relating to brucellosis (B. melitensis) and according them the status of a Member State or region officially free of the disease [Official Journal L 13 of 21.1.1993].

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