What are the new rules applying to the commercial movement and rehoming of pets after Brexit?


What are the new rules applying to the commercial movement and rehoming of pets after Brexit?

18 December 2020
Pets being moved for commercial purposes and pets rehomed by charities are subjected to different rules than pets travelling with their family just for holidays.
From January 1st we expect delays en route to and at ports, so we advise to pause these types of pet movements for the short to medium term. Read more to understand why.

Commercial movement of pets from Great Britain (GB) to the EU and Northern Ireland (NI) and the other way around:

  • Cats and dogs must be over 8 weeks old, unless they are accompanied by their mother.
  • Animals must enter via an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP). BIPs are placed under the authority of official veterinarians, who are effectively responsible for health checks on incoming consignments.
  • Each consignment of live animals and products of animal origin must be subject to official veterinary checks in the border inspection. The official controls include at least a systematic documentary check, identity check and, as appropriate, a physical check.
  • Transporters need to be authorised, and drivers will need a certificate of competence issued by the competent authority or by a body designated by that competent authority. 
  • Live animal consignments need to be pre-notified to the BIP 24 hours before arrival.
  • Animal health checks have to be undertaken before export, by an official veterinarian, checking compliance of the consignment against the export health certificate, which must be stamped with a 'wet stamp'.
  • All consignments have to comply with animal welfare requirements during transport, including written requirements regarding feeding at intervals of not more than 24 hours and watering at intervals of not more than eight hours.
  • Veterinary entry documents must be submitted for entry 24 hours before via TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) for entry or travel through the EU, and via IPAFFS 'Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System' for entry to and travel within Great Britain.
  • Customs duties may also apply dependent on whether a preferential trade deal is in place before 2021
  • Great Britain will not be performing any animal health or veterinary checks on entry from 1 January - 31 March, with checks being held away from ports of entry from 1 April - 30 June. Full checks will be taking place from 1 July at ports. 
  • Full checks will be taking place in the EU from 1 January.

As you could imagine all these checks and new rules could potentially generate severe delays at ports. That’s why we recommend pausing all movement of pets for commercial reasons and the rehoming of pets from and to EU, GB and NI. Let’s wait until the situation settles so we can make sure animals won’t suffer extended waiting times in uncomfortable conditions!

If you want to know more about the rules:

The EU regulations are: Council Directive 92/65/EEC (Balai Directive), and from 21 April 2021 Animal Health Law and Official Controls Regulation.

In Great Britain the regulations are: Official Controls (Animals, Feed and Food, Plant Health Fees etc.) Regulations 2019 and through the Animals, Aquatic Animal Health, Invasive Alien Species, Plant Propagating Material and Seeds (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.