What's New
Laboratory Directive
DRAFT ANIMAL HEALTH BILL (28th December, 2006)

Click here for Procedure for the Acquisition of Import Permits

The Animal Health Department, in its mandate to protect animal health and life, provides those veterinary services that stimulate the growth of the livestock industry. It assists in achieving a level of animal production that can sustain the nations' food of animal origin needs while contributing the necessary veterinary support to the livestock industry, which can then be expanded for export markets.

  1. Valid import permit from BAHA. Applications can be submitted at any BAHA office. Where the permit and conditions are faxed outside Belize, which is payable upon entry - this permit bears a stamp stating 'pay upon entry".

  2. Meet conditions of importation that accompany import permit.

    (A) must have a recent veterinary certificate of health (14 days)
    (B) must have a valid rabies certificate: not less than one month or more than one year prior to the date of importation into Belize. This certificate can be included in the veterinary certificate.
    (C) Other conditions as specified.

  3. Dogs and cats which do not meet rabies requirements (as less than three months of age) are to be confined at home until they reach three months of age, at which time the animal must be vaccinated against rabies and confined for an additional 30days.

  4. A BAHA veterinary officer or quarantine officer may inspect animals placed in confinement to verify confinement and rabies vaccination. This cost is to be borne by importer.

  5. Dogs and cats arriving at a port of entry into Belize without a valid permit. In addition, any dog or cat without a valid rabies vaccination will be placed in confinement until its rabies vaccination is valid (any cost associated with this is to be borne by the importer.)

  6. Quarantine inspection at the port of entry is required for all dogs and cats. Dogs and cats coming from countries considered of risk (for example, there is the risk of screwworm in dogs and cats coming from South America) will need to undergo veterinary inspection at the port of entry. There is an additional fee for veterinary inspection.


  1. Importer is to obtain a valid import permit.

  2. Live animals will only be inspected at the authorized port of entry specified on the import permit.

  3. The Director of Animal Health is to be notified two (2) days in advance of date and time of arrival of live animals at point of entry. Veterinary inspection at point of entry will be done only during daylight hours (9 am - 4 pm). For your information, the telephone numbers of veterinarians that can be contacted are:

    Dr. Victor Gongora - Central Farm- Ph: 011-501-824 - 4872/99 (Director of Animal Health)
    Dr. Joe Myers - O/Walk - Ph: 011-501-322-3257 (Quarantine, Northern Districts)
    Dr. Miguel Depaz - Central Farm - Ph: 011-501-824-4872/99 (Quarantine, Cayo District)
    Dr. Miguel Figueroa - Belize City - Ph: 011-501-
    224-5230/4794 (Quarantine, Belize District)

  4. Prior to the issue of an import permit for the importation of live animals:

    (A) Risk analysis may be conducted including possible inspection of farm and area of origin by BAHA veterinary Officer. Where the live animals are to be in-transit through an area not free of a prescribed disease, a BAHA veterinary officer may be required to supervise the operation and accompany the pigs.

    (B) the Veterinary Officer in the district where the live animals will be quarantined must certify that the quarantine station meets minimal standards and has spoken to importer re quarantine arrangements and costs.

  5. The live animals will be inspected at the point of entry by a Veterinary Officer of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority. Live animals not permitted entry will be returned to origin at the expense of the importer.

  6. Any cost incurred in the processing of live animals for entry into Belize will be borne by the importer.

  7. Live animals allowed entry into Belize will be subjected to a period of quarantine not less than thirty (30) days. During quarantine the live animals may be retested and must be negative to any test done before released from quarantine. These costs as well as cost of supervision during quarantine period including cost of any health measure taken during the period are to be borne by the importer.

  8. The vehicles used to transport the live animals from the port of entry into Belize to the quarantine station were cleaned and disinfected.

  9. No fodder or bedding accompanying the live animals will be allowed entry. Any livestock gear accompanying the live animals will be disinfected at the importer's expense.

The services of BAHA's Animal Health Department can be described as follows:

FACTSHEET: Import Risk Analysis for animals and animal products (Click here for form)

The importation of animals and animal products involves a degree of disease and food safety risk to Belize. This risk needs to be assessed in an objective and defensible manner to ensure that the disease and food safety risks posed by imported goods are identified and managed effectively. The WTO under the SPS Agreement specifies that:

  1. Disease risk assessments should evaluate the likelihood of entry, establishment or spread of a disease within an importing country according to the measures which might be applied, and the associated biological and economic consequences.
  2. Food safety risk assessments should evaluate the potential for adverse effects on human or animal health from the presence of pathogenic agents, additives, contaminants or toxins in foods, beverages or feedstuffs.
In general, an import risk analysis is conducted when:
  • The goods* have never been previously imported. [* - animals, animal products, animal genetic material, feedstuffs, biological products and pathological material]
  • The goods originate from a country or region not previously approved.
  • The health status of the country or region changes.
  • There is new information on a particular disease.
  • It is required that a country or region provide evidence that an export good does not represent a significant risk to Belize.
  • The process of regionalization is initiated.

Factors to be considered in an import risk analysis must be based on science. Relevant factors include:

  • Available scientific data.
  • Relevant processes and production methods.
  • Relevant inspection, sampling and testing methods.
  • The existence of eradication or control measures.

BAHA is the competent authority to commission import risk analyses, to implement the recommendations and to draw up a schedule of the proposed sanitary measures. BAHA, through SI 54 of 2004, includes site visits for verification purposes as a part of the import risk analysis. Since 2003, BAHA has conducted site visits in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica and the USA. Countries such as Barbados, Argentina, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have requested BAHA to conduct import risk analysis for particular goods, inviting BAHA to also conduct the appropriate site visits.

Zoonoses are diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites which are communicable from animals to humans and vice versa. The most important Zoonosis affecting Belize is Rabies. The Animal Health Department conducts a Vampire Bat Education and Control Programme that targets the control of vampire bat transmitted rabies in livestock. In addition, the department frequently conducts rabies vaccination campaigns in partnership with the Public Health Department of the Ministry of Health. At present Belize is free from other serious zoonoses such as bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis.

Risk management of other zoonoses transmitted via food should focus on the primary production of foodstuffs, and the department is developing on-farm food safety protocols that will complement the sanitary controls and food safety programs in slaughterhouses and food processing plants that is currently delivered by BAHA`s Food Safety Department

BAHA offers veterinary laboratory diagnostic services at its Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) in Central Farm Cayo district. VDL is staffed by skilled veterinary laboratory technicians and support staff who can provide a comprehensive range of diagnostic facilities and tests across a wide range of disciplines. VDL is also linked with BAHA`s food and environmental testing facility Central Investigation Laboratory (CIL) in Belize City. Both laboratories can provide a comprehensive range of competitively priced tests and services.

The Veterinary facility at Central farm has a fully equipped post mortem room for all farm animal species. Gross necropsies are performed and samples are tested either locally or at one of our reference laboratories. Veterinary diagnostic testing in Clinical Biochemistry, Haematology, Bacteriology, Serology, Parasitology and Virology are performed routinely to provide diagnostic support to the livestock industry as well as for companion animals.

A functional Epidemiology Unit is a basic requirement for a modern National Veterinary Service to ensure national, regional and international epidemiological surveillance and collaboration as an early warning system against animal disease outbreaks. Epidemiological Surveillance also provides for transparency in the administration of animal disease control and prevention and the provision of reliable risk analysis data and information for purposes of trade. BAHA has been doing risk assessments on new animal products and animals imported from a new source. Since 2000, risk assessments were done for tilapia from Taiwan, alpacas from Chile, cattle from Mexico and Costa Rica, hides from the U.S., pigs from Mexico, goats from Mexico and ham from Italy via the U.S. Hazards for which import conditions are required are defined as diseases exotic to the country or for which a national control program exists.

The Veterinary Epidemiology Team also provides epidemiological and statistical support to other departments within BAHA and is required to prepare monthly disease reports to Regional and International organizations.

The Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or the World Animal Health Organization is the international organization that develops and promulgates standards for promoting animal health. As the Competent Authority for animal health in Belize, BAHA`s Techinical Director of Animal Health is Belize's official delegate to this standard setting organization who plays an active role in the development of animal health standards that provide for transparency and equivalence in trade of animals and animal products.

Although the SPS Agreement recognizes the right of governments to restrict trade when necessary to protect animal health, these measures taken should have a scientific basis, not unjustifiably discriminate between countries, and should follow the principles of transparency and equivalence, principles that are embraced and routinely practiced by the Veterinary Services of BAHA.

BAHA has the relevant legislation and administrative protocols that clearly demonstrates the procedures and certification requirements to be followed for the importation and export of animal and animal origin commodities.

On-farm quarantine stations are approved prior to importation, based on a protocol stating that a BAHA veterinarian will visit the quarantine station within 24 hours of entry and then once weekly. The duration of quarantine is standard, 30 days. The importer covers all costs. On-farm quarantine is documented for approval, monitoring, and release.

A Veterinary Drugs and Animal Feed Registration Unit has been established in BAHA to promote the safe use and control of veterinary medicine and biologicals and animal feed in Belize. This newly established unit is located at the Central Investigation Laboratory in Belize City where importers of veterinary medicinal products and animal feed can register their products to be sold on the market. The unit ensures that international code of practices for the safe use of veterinary drugs as promoted by Codex Alimentarius is followed so that consumers can not only be assured of the provision of safe and effective veterinary medicinal products on the market, but that residues of these products in animal origin food is absent or below the internationally accepted Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) levels established for the drug. The Central Investigation Laboratory provides the regulatory laboratory support for this unit.

BAHA's Animal Health Department remains active in providing animal health services in the field, focusing primarily on preventive medicine.

BAHA has three Veterinary Clinics: the Orange Walk Veterinary Clinic services the Northern districts of Corozal and Orange Walk whereas the Central Farm Veterinary Clinic services the Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts; the Belize district is serviced by the Belize City Veterinary Clinic. These clinics receive diagnostic support from the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) at Central Farm, Cayo District, and the Veterinary Laboratory at the Orange Walk Clinic.

BAHA offers a wide range of animal health services to farmers, veterinarians, supply industries and those responsible for recreational and domestic animals. Generally, the department is mandated to promote animal health and welfare in order to foster favourable conditions for economic animal production. Further, by the provision of surveillance schemes and herd health programs, BAHA will help to transfer and equip livestock producers with adequate knowledge and skill for the proper management and improvement of all available resources for an efficient, sustainable livestock industry with an enhanced capacity for positive contribution to the growth of the national economy. A specific priority of the Animal Health Department is the strengthening of animal disease control and surveillance measures and the development of Emergency Preparedness Plans with capacity building in disease risk assessment and management.

BAHA achieves these goals through partnerships with livestock associations such as the Belize Poultry Association and the Belize Livestock Producers Association and with its international partners involved with regional animal health programs like Organismo Internacional Regional de Sanidad Agropecuaria (OIRSA), and International Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA).

The animal health service of BAHA may be contacted at:

Dr. Victor Gongora
Technical Director
Central Farm

Tel: 011-501-824-4872/99
Fax: 011-501-824-4889
E-mail: animalhealth@baha.bz

Belize City
Tel: 011-501-224-4794
Fax: 011-501-224-5230
O/Walk Town
Tel: 011-501-323-3257
Fax: 011-501-322-2301


Copyright 2006 Belize Agricultural Health Authority. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by