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Animal imports and livestock markets

This page details the regulations on importing livestock, pets, and other animals into the Commonwealth.

Table of Contents

General information on importing animals

All livestock, horses, poultry, waterfowl and other animals, including pets entering Massachusetts from other states must comply with Commonwealth regulations.  Import regulations reduce the risk of exposing our domestic animals to contagious diseases. Livestock dealers and transporters are licensed and their equipment and facilities inspected.  Cattle, swine, goats, sheep, llamas/camelids, horses and other equines must have valid health certificates issued by an accredited veterinarian within 30 days of import to MA.  All cattle, swine, sheep and goats must be identified by an official USDA ear-tag, or  by a tattoo issued by a breed or other recognized registry and accompanied by proof of registration.  All animals transported into Massachusetts for slaughter must have USDA approved waybills and back tag certificates. Slaughter animals must be identified by eartags, back tags or other USDA approved identification.

Other animals, such as poultry, waterfowl, rabbits, dogs, cats, doves, pigeons and other pets must have an official health certificate with them. This health certificate will state that the animals are healthy, free of symptoms of disease, and internal and/or external parasites. Certificates of health are valid for 30 days.

Animals leaving Massachusetts must obey the regulations set by the state of destination. Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture website to view these import requirements. For animals being exported to another country call USDA/APHIS/VS at (508) 363-2290 for proper procedures.


Importation regulations for different animals

Import and export rules for dogs, cats, rabbits, doves, pigeons and exotic birds can be found on the page Importation regulations for pets.


Import and export rules for horses, cattle, poultry, llamas, swine, sheep, and goats can be found on the page Importation regulations for livestock.

Restrictions for animal imports

Animals from herds, droves or flocks under quarantine or from areas under quarantine for any disease will not be allowed entry.


No titer resulting from any accepted test for brucellosis will be allowed entry. No titers at suspicious or positive levels for any infectious disease, including rabies, of any livestock, animals or poultry will be allowed entry.

Exemptions for animal imports

Livestock and poultry being imported into Massachusetts for immediate slaughter are not required to have a health certificate. They must be accompanied by an owner/shipper statement.

MA Animal Health Fair and Show Rules

A health certificate (certificate of veterinary inspection, or CVI) is required for all animals entering fair premises.  Please see the rules and requirements detailed below.


Animal Health Fair Rules 2023

NE Fairs and Shows CVI Requirements 2023

2023 Rules for Horses at Massachusetts Racetracks

Contact   for Animal imports and livestock markets

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