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There are a number of rules that must be considered when importing and trading animals within the UK, particularly if the animals are subject to Rabies controls.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease of the nervous system which can affect all mammals including humans.

Most species of rabies-susceptible animals entering the UK are required to spend six months in quarantine, unless arriving under and complying with all the conditions of:

  • EU Regulation 998/2003 on the noncommercial movement of pet animals.
  • Balai for commercially traded animals.

Traders of mammals

If you are trading in mammals, you have a duty to make sure you know the origin of the animals you sell. If they are imported they must enter the country correctly and then they can be legally sold.

  • Make sure you have full traceability of all stock. This is required should there be a disease outbreak.
  • Ask your supplier with regards the origin of stock particularly some of the more exotic species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
  • Do you have all appropriate documentation for animals which may be subject to the Control in Trade Endangered Species (CITES).
  • Do not bring mammals into the country from pet fairs where reptiles are purchased. You must comply with transportation rules and CITES.

Failure to comply with animal health laws not only places us at risk of disease but may leave you liable for prosecution. If you are convicted this could lead to heavy fines and/or imprisonment. It may also result in your licence to operate a pet shop being withdrawn.  

Further information

This guidance is not intended to be a full interpretation of the law. If you need any further advice please contact us.

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