tory system is a patchwork of agreements and agencies that govern the following:

  • Pest control and biosecurity;

  • Research animals;

  • Agriculture;

  • Conservation of endangered species; and,

  • Animals used in exhibits or events (shows or sports).

Because several agencies share responsibility for enforcing international transportation statutes and most countries have importation requirements, the regulatory climate is often complicated. The following is a discussion of the international treaties, agencies, or laws that provide regulation or guidance on the transportation of research animals. With the exception of CITES, enforced in 169 countries, each country has its own system of laws and guidance that may or may not draw on the treaties and laws discussed here. The Air Cargo Tariff book, published by the International Air Transport Association, is a source of information on international documentation and import requirements, though one should be aware that the information can change rapidly and requirements may be specific to a province or region. The committee suggests that the person(s) or institution(s) importing animals into the United States or exporting animals from the United States contact the consulate or website of the foreign country to determine which treaties the country enforces and the specific requirements for complying with local laws. In some cases, negotiations are necessary to address incompatibilities between US export and foreign import requirements. An export broker may be useful in assisting a shipper in fulfilling foreign importation requirements.


CITES, also called the Washington Convention, establishes a permit system for regulating the trade of plants and animals threatened by extinction and those that may be threatened by extinction if trade of that species is not controlled. In this context, trade refers to movement of a specimen across international borders for any purpose and includes commercial and noncommercial trade. It includes the importation, exportation, or re-exportation (exportation of a specimen that was imported) of live and dead plants and animals or parts or derivatives of them. At the time of publication, some 169 nations are parties to CITES. In the United States, the ESA of 1973 implements the international CITES treaty (50 CFR 23). FWS administers both the ESA and the CITES treaty and therefore is

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