Bringing Animal Products into the United States
Persons who plan to bring wild animal products such as hunting trophies, bushmeat, or other products into the United States must meet the following regulations and rules.
Trophies of Nonhuman Primates
Nonhuman primate trophy materials require a CDC permit unless the bearer presents proof that the items have been rendered noninfectious. Acceptable proof that items have been rendered noninfectious include veterinary or taxidermy certificates. Persons who plan to import unprocessed trophy materials from nonhuman primates should review the permit requirements and complete an application form:
- Permit Requirements
- Permit to Import or Transport Etiologic Agents, Hosts, or Vectors of Human Disease:
Trophies of Animals under Import Restriction
Some trophy animals are under CDC import restriction because they pose a risk for infecting humans. The animals restricted by CDC include African rodents, bats, civets, and small turtles. For details on restricted animals, please see Bringing an Animal into the U.S. These animal trophies may be imported if the body has been sufficiently processed to render it noninfectious (see below).
Trophy materials from animals other than those listed above are not restricted by CDC unless they are known or suspected to be capable of transmitting human disease. Additional information about animals restricted by CDC can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations 42CFR71.54 (Importations: Etiologic agents, hosts, and vectors).
Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and international treaty (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES) ban the importation of trophies from endangered species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program). The National Marine Fisheries Service website provides additional information on endangered marine species.
As with animal trophy materials, animal tissue used for other means must be properly processed to render it noninfectious. Some products that are more difficult to render noninfectious, such as goatskin drums from Haiti, which have been associated with anthrax, may not be imported.
Bushmeat is raw or processed meat derived from wild animals, such as cane rats, duiker antelope, nonhuman primates, and bats. Many U.S. Federal agencies have restrictions on the importation of bushmeat. Most bushmeat is illegal to ship, mail, or carry into the United States. Upon reaching the U.S. borders, bushmeat will be confiscated and destroyed. Persons who carry or import bushmeat may be fined.
Although some countries and ethnic groups consider snails to be bushmeat, smoked snails are allowed if they are declared.
Animal species restricted by CDC include certain turtles, nonhuman primates, bats, civets, and African rodents. For more information about the animals and animal products that CDC regulates and restricts, see
Bushmeat has been linked to Ebola. Learn more:
Other Products from Restricted Animals
As with animal trophy materials, animal products from restricted animals used for other means must be properly processed to render it noninfectious (see below). Civet oil imported for use in the perfume industry numbers among these products.
Some products that are more difficult to render noninfectious, such as goatskin drums from Haiti, which have been associated with anthrax, may not be imported.
Animal species restricted by CDC include certain turtles, nonhuman primates, bats, civets, and African rodents. For details on restricted animals, please see Bringing an Animal into the U.S.
A veterinary or taxidermy certificate should be included with the trophy, stating that the animal has been rendered noninfectious by―
- Heat (heated to an internal temperature of 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) or placed in boiling water for a minimum of 30 minutes)
- Preservation in 2 percent formaldehyde
- Chemically treating in acidic or alkaline solutions (soaking in a solution below pH 3.0 or above pH 11.5 for 24 hours)
- The use of hypertonic salts
- Soaking, with agitation, in a 4%(w/v) solution of washing soda (sodium carbonate, Na2CO3) maintained at pH 11.5 or above for at least 48 hours
- Soaking, with agitation, in a formic acid solution (100kg salt [NaCl] and 12 kg formic acid per 1,000 liters water) maintained at below pH 3.0 for at least 48 hours; wetting and dressing agents may be added.
- Gamma irradiation at a dose of at least 20 kilo Gray at room temperature (20°C or higher)
- Ethylene oxide
- In the case of raw hides, salting for at least 28 days with sea salt containing 2% washing soda (sodium carbonate, Na2CO3)
- For bones only, the following methods are acceptable
- Dry heat at 82.2° C (180°F) for 30 minutes
- Soaking in boiling water for 20 minutes
- Soaking in a 0.1 percent chlorine bleach solution for 2 hours
- Soaking in a 5 percent acetic acid solution for 2 hours OR
- Soaking in a 5 percent hydrogen peroxide solution for 2 hours
- Or, any other method approved by CDC
- Page last reviewed: September 1, 2016
- Page last updated: November 15, 2018
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