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Intra-EU trade in ovine and caprine animals

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Intra-EU trade in ovine and caprine animals


Council Directive 91/68/EEC on animal health conditions governing intra-EU trade in ovine and caprine animals



  • It sets out the rules that apply to sheep (ovine) and goats (caprine) which are moved from EU country to another, whether for slaughter, fattening or breeding, to ensure that they are healthy and do not carry any disease.


  • The animals must meet the following conditions:
    • be identified and registered according to EU legislation;
    • be inspected within the 24 hours preceding their move;
    • not come from a farm, or been in contact with animals, where a disease has been identified until a suitable time has elapsed — 42 days for brucellosis, 30 for rabies and 15 for anthrax;
    • be born and reared in the EU or imported from abroad in line with EU regulations;
    • be on their farm of origin continuously for at least 30 days or, for younger animals, since birth;
    • not be off their original farm for more than 6 days before receiving their final trade authorisation;
    • not be in contact with other sheep or goats during the preceding 21 days or, in the case of hoofed animals, imported into the EU in the preceding 30 days.
  • Animals for breeding and fattening must meet additional requirements to ensure they are brucellosis-free.
  • Animals may not be moved to another EU country if:
    • they are to be slaughtered under a disease eradication programme or
    • they cannot be sold on their own territory because of health fears.
  • Assembly centres, where animals from different farms are grouped together before being transported, must be:
    • under the supervision of an official veterinarian,
    • cleaned and disinfected before use, and
    • regularly inspected by the relevant authorities.
  • The centres must:
    • have sufficient capacity and facilities for the animals they house,
    • admit only those animals which comply with the EU’s health conditions, and
    • maintain a register for at least 3 years containing details such as the animals’ entry and exit dates, their owner’s name and the transporter’s registration number.
  • The centres are given a personal approval number and may have their licence suspended or withdrawn for any violations of the legislation.
  • Dealers and transporters involved in moving the animals from one EU country to another must be registered and keep a database of their activities for at least 3 years. Both must meet strict hygiene standards.

The directive is in addition to:

  • Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 on identifying and registering sheep and goats;
  • Council Directive 2003/85/EC on measures to control foot-and-mouth disease; and
  • Commission Decision 93/52/EEC on the compliance by certain EU countries or regions with brucellosis requirements.


It applies from 4 February 1991. EU countries had to incorporate it into their national law by 31 December 1992.


For more information, see ‘Intra-Union trade in ovine and caprine animals’ on the European Commission’s website.


Council Directive 91/68/EEC of 28 January 1991 on animal health conditions governing intra-Community trade in ovine and caprine animals (OJ L 46, 19.2.1991, pp. 19-36)

Successive amendments to Directive 91/68/EEC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Council Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 of 17 December 2003 establishing a system for the identification and registration of ovine and caprine animals and amending Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 and Directives 92/102/EEC and 64/432/EEC (OJ L 5, 9.1.2004, pp. 8-17). See consolidated version.

Council Directive 2003/85/EC of 29 September 2003 on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease repealing Directive 85/511/EEC and Decisions 89/531/EEC and 91/665/EEC and amending Directive 92/46/EEC (OJ L 306, 22.11.2003, pp. 1-87). See consolidated version.

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 (OJ L 13, 21.1.1993, pp. 14-15). See consolidated version.

last update 18.04.2016