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Fighting animal diseases

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVONederlandse versie

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

Reporting animal disease

If 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). An overview of animal diseases that require reporting (in Dutch) is available on their website. The list includes diseases that occur in amongst others farm livestock, poultry, bees, mink, and aquaculture animals. In order to fight and avert animal diseases, specialists may be appointed to perform physical interventions on the animals concerned.

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

Taking blood samples from pigs

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

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 or keep animals from another farm;
  • you take part in inspections;
  • you transport animals from your farm to locations with a unique company number (unieke bedrijfsnummer or UBN, in Dutch).
Different standards apply to registered cleaning and disinfection areas (R&O plaats, in Dutch) for abattoirs and holding centres for livestock.

Reporting animal 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 animal cadavers for collection and processing

Livestock farmers or veterinarians in het Netherlands must report dead farm animals to Rendac (in Dutch) within 1 working day. On the next working day, the dead farm animals will be picked up. Make sure that you use the correct animal codes when reporting, so that they will know what type of animal cadaver to expect. You can find the animal code on the price list (Kadavertarieven pdf, in Dutch).


Farmers and dealers are not permitted to treat their livestock against diseases like foot-and-mouth, avian influenza and bluetongue with sera or vaccines themselves. When they are allowed or obliged to do so, or when veterinary doctors must vaccinate, is indicated in the various protocols for animal diseases. You can apply for an exemption to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

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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