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Jurisdictions Surveyed: Angola | Argentina | Botswana | Bulgaria | Cambodia | China | Democratic Republic of the Congo | Côte d’Ivoire | Egypt | Gabon | Georgia | Ghana | Greenland | Guyana | India | Indonesia | Kazakhstan | Liberia | Nepal | Pakistan | Russia | Thailand | Turkey | Vietnam
Appendix: Mexico | Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates | United Kingdom

Georgia

Georgia, a member of the Caucasus eco-region, represents one of the 34 biodiversity “hotspots” identified by Conservation International as areas distinguished for having high levels of endemic species. Hunting is an inherent part of the country’s cultural heritage. While hunting is considered to be a popular leisure activity, game is rarely used as part of the food supply. Georgian legislation provides for animal protection and hunting is regulated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture through annually issued rules for the issuance of hunting licenses, with designated times when and territories where hunting is allowed as well as the animal species that may be hunted. A dedicated wet market for wild animals does not exist in Georgia, neither in the urban areas nor in the countryside. However, wild animal products may be sold to private individuals or restaurants after obtaining a special veterinary certificate.

I. Introduction

Georgia is known for its intricate landscape and varied climate, which create a diverse ecosystem.[1] The main biomes to be found in Georgia are forests, freshwater systems, and wetlands, marine and coastal habitats, high mountains, semi-deserts, and steppes. The ecosystem is governed by national legislation and international conventions/treaties to which Georgia is a signatory, including the Convention on Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, and the European Convention on Protection of Animals during International Transport. [2]

II. Legal Status of Markets

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia conducted market reforms as well as privatization reforms. All farmers markets and bazaars (agricultural markets) became private enterprises. Farmers markets are privately owned and managers of the markets are obliged to follow standards and sanitary norms introduced by the government.[3]

As a result of signing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU, safety and security standards have been made stricter in order to enter the EU market.[4] Making Georgian legislation compatible with relevant EU legislation in food and agriculture most importantly requires regulations on hygiene, food safety, and animal health. The Agreement’s objectives are

  • ensuring full transparency of trade-related sanitary and phytosanitary measures;
  • recognizing the health status of animals and plants, and implementing the principles of regionalization;
  • deepening the partnership between Georgia and the EU in implementing sanitary and phytosanitary measures; and
  • facilitating the development of the same standard and approach to animal welfare in Georgia and the EU.[5]

III. National Legislation on Veterinary and Sanitary Standards

The animal world is regulated by the Law of Georgia on the Animal World.[6] Article 7 of the Law provides a very detailed overview of the animal world:

1. The objects of the animal world are:

a) Cordy (including vertebrates¾mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, etc.) and invertebrates (arthropods, mollusks, etc.), all species and populations at any stage of development (eggs, embryos, shells, etc.), which are in a state of natural freedom;
b) wildlife derivatives;
c) wild animal products (honey, wax, poison, etc.);
d) fossil remains of wild animals;
e) wildlife litter, nests, bird nests and other habitats for animals.

2. Wildlife objects, as well as wildlife breeding sites, temporary and permanent gathering places, other areas that are habitats of wildlife, are all protected by the state.[7]

Article 38 stipulates the rights of users of wildlife objects, and paragraph D allows the sale of manufactured products and goods (except for products and goods from animals commonly used for their nutritional value) according to the rules mandated by the legislation of Georgia.

The Georgian Law on Food and Animal Feed Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection Code, stipulates the standards and controls for compliance with the requirements put forward in Georgian legislation in the veterinary field.[8] According to this Law, the direct sale of hunted wild animals is allowed if inspection and documentation standards are met:

1. Inspection is a state control mechanism, through which the study of the stages of production, processing and distribution of animals, products of animal origin, veterinary drugs, and of certain aspects of animal health and welfare is carried out to determine their compliance with the requirements and procedures identified by the Georgian legislation, which includes:
a) inspecting the activities of business operators at the stages of production, processing and distribution, as well as assessing the health status and welfare of animals;
b) performing a documentary check; . . . .[9]

Under this Law, obligations of business operators in the field of veterinary are as follows:

1. Business operators carrying out animal breeding, driving, transportation, sale and/or slaughter shall:
a) implement preventive and liquidation measures against epizootic diseases, including vaccinations, diagnostic examinations, treatment and other measures against the contagious diseases;
b) slaughter animals under veterinary supervision for further sale;
c) fulfil the Agency’s instructions to implement preventive and liquidation activities against epizootic diseases; [and]
d) cooperate with the relevant authorities in the implementation of diagnostic, preventive and liquidation measures against animal diseases and in the implementation of processes for the identification and registration of animals; . . . .[10]

Additionally, the Code stipulates that, ‘’[t]o perform traceability, food/feed, animals, plants, products of animal and plant origin, veterinary drugs, pesticides and agrochemicals shall be labelled as determined by the Government of Georgia.”[11]

The Technical Regulation, Rules of Veterinary Inspection for Slaughtering Animals and Veterinary-Sanitary Examination of Meat and Meat Products, adopted by the Government of Georgia on December 31, 2013, regulates wild animal consumption in the same manner as domesticated animal consumption.[12] The regulation stipulates veterinary-sanitary examination of products for hunted wild animals and birds.[13] Paragraphs of this article provide detailed rules for obtaining veterinary certificates for hunted wild animals. The ownership of such a certificate makes the sale of the product permissible, as in the case of domesticated animals. Also, after veterinary-sanitary examination of meat and meat products, veterinarians must conduct their veterinary examination and stamping according to the current instructions, as well as issue conclusions about the use of the product.[14]

The Decree of the Minister of Labor, Healthcare and Social Welfare of the Republic of Georgia on Approval of Sanitary Rules and Norms for Quality and Safety of Food Raw Materials and Food Products establishes hygienic standards of quality and safety for raw food materials and foodstuffs and regulates the quantity of toxic elements in meat, birds, and eggs.[15] Violations of hunting and veterinary rules are addressed in the Administrative Offences Code of Georgia, which provides for monetary fines as a form of punishment.[16]

Poaching is a widely unacceptable practice for most of Georgian society. The Hunters Association of Georgia has lobbied the government to accelerate the fight against poaching and offered a concrete set of measures aimed at the regular examination of agricultural markets to enforce veterinary and sanitary rules, with the purpose of minimizing the possibility of illegal sales of hunted game.[17]

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Prepared by Iana Fremer
Legal Research Analyst
August 2020


[1] Georgia – A Haven for Biodiversity, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (Dec 7, 2012), https://perma.cc/BJ94-UGRG.

[2] Council of Europe, Bern Convention, Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, Nov. 2009, ETS No. 104, https://perma.cc/25ZT-TBPD; Country Profiles: Georgia, Convention on Biological Diversity, https://perma.cc/2J7P-5XZM; Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Mar. 3, 1973, 1942 U.N.T.S. 410, https://perma.cc/3NKQ-9J3L; Legislation, Georgian Society of the Protection and Safety of Animals, https://perma.cc/4C2N-YXRM; European Convention on the Protection of Animals during International Transport (Revised), Nov. 6, 2003, CETS No. 193, https://perma.cc/CA2V-KAHW; Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Inventory: Implementation of Articles III.4 and III.5 of the Convention, Georgia, https://perma.cc/G95J-ZAK9.

[3] Thomas Lines, Research on DCFTA Impact on Small-holder Farmers in Georgia (Feb. 2017), https://perma.cc/8Q4X-MLS9.

[4] Free Trade with the EU, dcfta.gov.ge, https://perma.cc/74PL-5R9Z; Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) 2014-2017, Action Plan Implementation Report for 2015, https://perma.cc/3NCK-4SZ8.

[5] DCFTA Agreement, EU-Georgia, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, ch. 4, art. 50, 2014 O.J. (L 261) 4, https://perma.cc/FU6D-6P5J.

[6] Law of the Republic of Georgia on the Animal World, Dec. 1996, last updated Jan. 22, 2017, https://perma.cc/P8CG-XUCM (in Georgian).

[7] Id. art. 7 (translation by author).

[8] Law on Food/Animal Feed Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection Code, No. 6155-ES, adopted May 8, 2012, consolidated version issued July 12, 2017, art. 13, para. 1, sub-para. av, https://perma.cc/G33M-ESQC (in Georgian).

[9] Id. art. 26.

[10] Id. art. 18.

[11] Id. art. 17, para. 3.

[12] Technical Regulation, Rules of Veterinary Inspection of Slaughter Animals and Veterinary-Sanitary Examination of Meat and Meat Products No. 444, Dec. 31, 2013, https://perma.cc/E99V-RJXZ (in Georgian.)

[13] Id. art. 20.

[14] Id. art. 4, para. 3.

[15] Decree of the Minister of Labor, Healthcare and Social Welfare of the Republic of Georgia on Approval of Sanitary Rules and Norms for Quality and Safety of Food Raw Materials and Food Products, No. 301/N, ch. 6, arts. 1 & 2, Aug. 16, 2001, https://perma.cc/AF7L-WNSC (in Georgian).

[16] Administrative Offences Code of the Republic of Georgia art. 86 (Dec. 31, 1984, consolidated publication Mar. 3, 2018), https://perma.cc/AU53-CLE7.

[17] Ministry of Internal Affairs along with Environment and Natural Resources Protection and Finance Ministries Has Signed Memorandum of Understanding, Ministry of Internal Affairs (June 25, 2015), https://perma.cc/B4DH-SH5U.

Last Updated: 12/31/2020