Safety Office

Animal Pathogens

Any worker planning to import or work with an animal pathogen must be aware of the following two sets of legislation. The legislative requirements are not related to human health and safety but are to protect animals within the UK from a disease outbreak which could have severe economic consequences for the farming industry.

The Importation of Animal Pathogens Order 1980 (IAPO)

The Importation of Animal Pathogens Order 1980 (IAPO) prohibits the importation into England from a third country (i.e. a country that is not a Member State of the European Communities) of any animal pathogen or carrier except under the authority of a license in writing issued by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and in accordance with the conditions of that license.

Licences usually stipulate the manner in which the animal pathogen or carrier must be prepared, treated and packed prior to importation, the containment conditions under which it must be handled while it is in England and the method by which it and its derivatives must be disposed of, if it is not re-exported. The purpose of imposing these conditions is to protect the British livestock and poultry industries from infection by animal pathogens imported into Great Britain from outside the EC.

      • An "animal pathogen" means any collection or culture of organisms or any derivative either on its own or in recombinant form of such collection or culture of organisms which may cause disease in animals or poultry.
      • A "carrier" means any living creature except man which may carry or transmit an animal pathogen or the tissue, cell culture, body fluid, excreta, carcass or part of a carcass of such creature by or by means of which an animal pathogen may be transmitted.

For the purposes of the Order, "animals" means cattle, sheep, goats and all other ruminating animals, horses and swine, and "poultry" means domestic fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea-fowls, pigeons, pheasants, partridges and quail.

The Specified Animal Pathogens Order 2008

The Specified Animal Pathogens Order 2008 prohibits any person from having in their possession any specified animal pathogen listed in Part I of the Schedule to the Order or any carrier in which they know such a pathogen is present. It also prohibits the introduction into any animal or bird of any pathogen listed in the Schedule to the Order (Parts I and II).

The Order requires any person who has in their possession anything in which they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that a specified animal pathogen in Part 1 of the Schedule to the Order is present, and who does not have a license in respect of that pathogen, to notify a veterinary inspector immediately.

If you need to make such a notification, you should contact the University Biological Safety Adviser who will facilitate this process.


Safety Office

Pharmacy Building - Lower Ground Floor
University Park
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Telephone: +44 (0)115 951 3401