The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing a final rule updating its regulations for the export of live animals. The updated regulations provide additional flexibility and better facilitate exports in today’s business environment, while continuing to ensure the health and welfare of the livestock.

The new regulations update most of the requirements for export certifications, tests and treatments. APHIS would continue to retain certain export requirements that it considers necessary to ensure the health and welfare of the animals, such as issuance of export health certificates (EHCs) for livestock intended for export.

The final rule also includes the following changes:

  • If the importing country requires EHCs for animals other than livestock, hatching eggs or animal germplasm, then we would require such certificates.
  • Under certain circumstances, pre-export livestock inspection would be allowed to occur at facilities other than an export inspection facility at the port of embarkation.
  • Specific standards for export inspection facilities and ocean transport vessels would be replaced with performance standards.

These changes are in line with the agency’s ongoing effort to review and streamline its regulations. The goal is to make their regulations more responsive to customer needs, easier to update in the future and more performance-based.

The regulations, which become effective on Feb. 19, are currently on display in the Federal Register.