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Importing and exporting livestock

Read regulations and information about bringing cattle, swine, sheep, goats, horses, and lamas and other domesticated livestock into the Commonwealth.

Table of Contents

Importing and exporting cattle

All bovine animals, except for immediate slaughter, transported into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from any point outside must be accompanied by the shipping copy of a Valid Health Certificate indicating state and herd status.

An Advanced Notice to Bring in Cattle is required. A copy of the Health Certificate approved by the Chief Livestock Health Official of the state of origin indicating said cattle have complied with the following requirements must be sent to our Division


  1. From Class Free States – No Test Required

  2. From Class A, B, C – Call for Requirements


Note: No age exceptions

  1. Accredited Free Herd or State – No Test Required

  2. Other – Negative TB test within the last 12 months

Cattle for immediate slaughter (72 hrs.) are exempt, but must have met USDA requirements for interstate movement to slaughter (waybill and permanent identification).

Call  (617) 626-1810 for cattle entry permits.

Read about the state's dairy program

Lactating Dairy Cattle Guidance

USDA guidance, testing protocol, enhanced biosecurity recommendations, and more information: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/livestock-poultry-disease/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-detections/livestock


Dairy Guidance Flowchart


download of the flow chart

download of OSS PDF     

download of OSS Excel

Importing and exporting sheep and goats

All sheep and goats, except for immediate slaughter, transported into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from any point outside the Commonwealth must be accompanied by a health certificate approved by the livestock official of the state of origin. The health certificate must show the status of herd for TB and Brucellosis.

Sheep and goats must be:

1. Free of scabies, lice, foot-rot, sore mouth, and have not been exposed to scrapie.

Additional requirements for goats:

  • Must be negative to an official Brucellosis test within 30 days, if over 6 months of age

  • From Accredited Free State for Tuberculosis – No Tuberculosis test required

2. From States Not Accredited Free for Tuberculosis – Must be negative to Tuberculosis test within 60 days.

Under the USDA Scrapie Eradication Program, all categories of sheep and goats entering Massachusetts will have to have official scrapie ID tags. Further information about the Scrapie ID Program can be obtained at (508) 363-2290. These tags, and further information about the categories of sheep and goats which will require the tags for interstate movement, can be obtained from state or regional USDA or Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Veterinary Services Offices. You may also call the Scrapie Eradication Program information line at (866) 873-2824.

Importing and exporting horses and equines

All shipments of horses, mules and asses (equines) into the Commonwealth must have with them a health certificate signed by an accredited veterinarian.


1. For equines imported into the state, the health certificate must declare the animal or animals free from all contagious or infectious diseases and must state that equines are negative to a USDA approved test for Equine Infectious Anemia (Coggins or Elisa). This test must be done at an approved laboratory within the previous twelve (12) months. The certificate must state that these equines do not originate from a quarantined area, or an area where a contagious or infectious disease has been officially diagnosed. No pending Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) tests are accepted. 

The Health Certificate must show a temperature recording of the animal that is within the normal range. The Health Certificate must also identify the lab performing the EIA test, the accession number of the test, the test results, and the date of the test. 

Each animal must be individually identified by name, tatoo, color, markings, scars, brands, hair whorls, or other unique identification. The health certificate is void after thirty (30) days. Foals 6 months of age and under are exempt from the EIA test requirement provided they are accompanied by their dams and the dam has the approved negative test.


2. Equines to be auctioned, sold or offered for sale must have been negative to a USDA approved test for Equine Infectious Anemia within the previous six (6) months of such sale or auction. All other requirements as above in (1) apply.

Read about the state's equine programs

Importing and exporting llamas, alpacas, and dromedaries

1. Llamas and alpacas must be individually identified by either eartag,tattoo or microchip which must be listed on the state of origin health certificate. If microchip is used, new owner must have a reader that is available for identification by private, state or federal regulatory personnel or for show/fair personnel.

2. Llamas and alpacas must have a prior entrance permit issued by the Massachusetts Division of Animal Health. For an entrance permit animals must have:

a. Brucellosis - negative test within 30 days

b. Tuberculosis - negative test within 60 days (single cervical site for cervidae; axillary site for camelidae; both according to USDA-APHIS recommendation)

c. Bluetongue -negative test within 30 days if from endemic area (accept test being virus isolation negative)

These regulations apply to all animals in the Camelid family.

Importing and exporting deer, elk, and other Cervidae animals

To prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) no live deer may be imported to Massachusetts for any purpose. This ban includes all members of the Cervidae family including, but not limited to, white-tailed deer, mule deer, red deer, moose, caribou, or elk. Please contact the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife if you have questions.

Importing and exporting poultry

No person shall import into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts hatching eggs, baby chicks or live poultry, except poultry intended for immediate slaughter or for exhibition subject to permit granted by the State Department of Agriculture, unless such hatching eggs are the produce of flocks which meet, and such baby chicks or live poultry meet, or are the first generation progeny of flocks which meet, the minimum requirements for "pullorum passed" or "pullorum clean" grades of poultry, as established by the Commissioner of Agriculture, or the equivalent thereof.


Adult poultry* entering the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must have with them:

  1. Proof of a National Poultry Plan (NPIP) approved negative test for salmonella pullorum-typhoid
  2. A NPIP/Veterinary Services (VS) 9-3 form, issued by the state of origin.

Day old chicks and hatching eggs must originate from flocks that are NPIP salmonella pullorum-typhoid negative and be accompanied by an NPIP/ VS 9-3 form issued by the state of origin.

All other avian species require a general health certificate for entry into the commonwealth.


*The definition of “Poultry” in regards to testing requirements includes chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, and gamebirds.

Call (617) 626-1796 for entry permits for poultry.

Read about the state's poultry program

Importing and exporting swine

All swine transported in any way into the Commonwealth from any point outside thereof must be accompanied by a Valid Health Certificate with the number of the Notice to Import Swine issued by the Director of the Division of Animal Health. The official copy of the Health Certificate approved by the livestock official of the state of origin must be forwarded to this Bureau promptly. The Certificate must state that to the best of the issuing veterinarian’s knowledge the swine:

  1. Have not been fed raw garbage
  2. Are free from evidence of infectious and contagious disease
  3. Have not recently been exposed to any infectious, contagious or parasitic disease.


All swine (including pot-bellied pigs or other "pet" type) must also meet the following standards:

All swine imported into Massachusetts must be blood test negative to brucellosis within 30 days prior to importation unless coming directly from a validated brucellosis-free herd or state. Validation number or state status must appear on the health certificate.

All Breeding swine must enter directly from qualified pseudorabies-free herds and have been negative to an USDA-approved test for pseudorabies conducted within 30 days prior to entry.


Feeder/Immediate Slaughter swine must originate from qualified pseudorabies-free herds or monitored herds in qualified pseudorabies-free states only.

Swine vaccinated against PRV (any type of vaccine) are not accepted for entry into Massachusetts.

Call  (617) 626-1795 for entry permits for swine.

Read about the state's swine program

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