Fighting animal diseases

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you keep livestockin the Netherlands? You must do everything possible to prevent animal disease outbreaks.

If you keep, among others, livestock, mink, bees, or aquaculture and aquatic animals, you must:

  • ensure that you follow hygiene procedures, for instance by cleaning and disinfecting the premises
  • check the health of your animals regularly
  • report any animal disease or suspicion of animal disease
  • have any cadavers picked up

To control animal diseases and prevent their spread, specialists may be appointed to carry out physical interventions on the affected animals.

Reporting animal disease

Do you suspect the presence of a contagious animal disease, such as swine fever, Q fever, or bird flu? You must report this immediately to the National Animal Disease Contact Point (in Dutch) of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Waren Autoriteit, NVWA, in Dutch). A full overview of notifiable animal diseases (in Dutch) is available on the NVWA website.

If you fail to report a contagious animal disease you are held co-responsible for its spread. NVWA will give you a warning. However, if you have been truly negligent and an outbreak occurs, you may be penalised heavily.

Obligatory cleaning and disinfection areas

In some cases you must have an area to clean and disinfect lorries (in Dutch) every time they are used for the transport of animals. Cleaning and disinfection areas are obligatory if:

  • you keep 10 or more biungulates (cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs)
  • you keep 10 or more animals as a hobby and you transport animals from other owners with a unique company number (unieke bedrijfsnummer or UBN, in Dutch)
  • you transport animals with your own means of transport
  • you take part in livestock shows with your animals

Different standards apply to registered cleaning and disinfection areas (R&O plaatsen, in Dutch) for abattoirs and holding centres for livestock.

Reporting cadavers for autopsy

You must report suspicious animal cadavers for autopsy to the Animal Health Service (GD). To do so, you must first register the animal cadavers (in Dutch). The GD collection service will collect the animals for autopsy from the farm or veterinary practice.

Reporting bird cadavers

Do you encounter 1 or more dead wild birds (not poultry or hobby birds)? You can report this to the Dutch Wildlife Health Centre (DWHC) (in Dutch). You can report to have the animals examined for cause of death or to gain insight into wildlife mortality. The DWHC may collect the cadavers. If they do not and the cadaver is located on your private property, you are responsible for disposing of it yourself.

Reporting cadavers for collection

Livestock farmers or veterinarians in het Netherlands must report dead farm animals to Rendac (in Dutch) within 1 working day. You can find the animal codes you need to report the cadaver on the price list (Kadavertarieven, pdf, in Dutch). The cadaver will be collected on the next working day.

Taking blood samples from pigs

Do you keep pigs in the Netherlands? Blood samples from your animals (in Dutch) must be tested regularly for classical swine fever and Aujeszky's disease. The samples must be tested by a certified laboratory. If a disease is diagnosed, NVWA will take appropriate measures (in Dutch). You must keep the test results in your business records for at least 2 years.


Farmers and dealers are not permitted to treat their livestock against diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, and bluetongue with sera or vaccines themselves. When treatment with sera or vaccines is mandatory, and who is allowed to do so, is described in the protocols for animal diseases (in Dutch).

Please note: The technical requirements that apply in the Netherlands to sera and vaccines against Aujeszky’s disease (AJD) and vaccines against infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) differ from those of other EU Member States. If these sera or vaccines are already allowed in another EU Member State, the authorities may ban their sale in the Netherlands only in exceptional cases.

Online application procedure via Message Box

Using Message Box, you can apply digitally for the exemption from the ban on vaccination at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Message Box is a secure e-mail system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.

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