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Turkey

The Turkish legal framework regulating the sale of animals forbids the sale of live wild animals and meat and other products obtained from them, unless the animals are produced or raised in regulated production facilities. Wild boar meats are exempted from this rule, and may be sold or exported subject to special rules and certification. For wild and game animals produced in regulated production facilities, the producers or purveyors of such animals must comply with additional requirements under the Game and Wild Animals Regulation, such as displaying their special producers’ license at the place of sale, obtaining special origin certificates or veterinarian reports, and preparing a special sales certificate.

I. Overview of the Legal Framework

In Turkish law, the main legislation that applies to the regulation of animal markets is Law No. 5996.[1] Two regulations based on this Law provide the details of the legal framework applicable to animal markets: the Regulation on the Procedure and Principles Regarding the Licensing and Inspection of Animal Markets (Animal Markets Regulation or AMR),[2]  and the Regulation on the Procedure and Principles Regarding the Operation and Inspection of Purveyors Dealing in Live Animals (Live Animal Trade Regulation or LATR).[3]  Additional rules regarding, in particular, the sale of wild animals and wild animal products are provided in the Regulation on the Stocking, Production, and Trade of Game and Wild Animals and Products Obtained from These (Game and Wild Animals Regulation, or GWAR).[4] This latter regulation is based on Law No. 5199,[5] Turkey’s international obligations as a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora,[6] and the Bern Convention.[7] Finally, general rules about the regulation and inspection of the animal husbandry supply chain are found in the Regulation on Animal Health and the Animal Health Constabulary (Animal Health Regulation or AHR).[8]  

II. Regulation of Wild Animals in Animal Markets

A. Rules Regarding the Sale of Wild and Game Animals

GWAR regulates the transport, sale, import, and export of wild game animals and derived products. Separate rules apply to game animals taken from the wild and game animals produced in regulated production facilities. GWAR forbids outright the trade of game meat of any game animal taken from the wild in accordance with the Ministry’s permission, with the single exception of wild boar.[9] Live wild animals that are not produced in regulated production facilities cannot be stocked or sold for commercial purposes.[10] Wild boar meat can be sold or exported upon obtaining special sales and transport licenses from the Ministry.[11] The hunter who has taken the boar must obtain a certificate of origin and a transport license from municipal authorities without butchering the animal.[12] Licensed purveyors may butcher the animal only after obtaining a report from a state veterinarian finding that the animal is suitable for human consumption.[13]

Wild and game animals (including birds, raptors, rodents, and other small mammals, predator and herbivore mammals, and fur-bearing animals) can be raised by producers upon obtaining a license from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.[14] The requirements for obtaining a license vary according to the species that will be produced and the production capacity. Producers must document their production by regularly filing production record forms with the Ministry.[15] Producers are subject to regular annual and at-will inspections by Ministry officials, and regular animal health scans must be conducted by licensed veterinarians.[16] Importation of wild and game animals, their meat, or other products obtained from them are subject to additional licensing.[17] GWAR also regulates the labeling of produced animals and the reporting of livestock to the Ministry.[18]

Live wild animals may be stocked only for hobby or collection purposes, and in limited numbers, in accordance with the special rules provided in GWAR; the sale of such animals is forbidden, and persons stocking these animals must submit them annually to an inspection by a veterinarian who will keep track of their health and immunization.[19] The hobby collector must bear all the costs of the veterinarian’s services and keep the veterinarian’s report on file to produce it in case of an inspection by the Ministry.[20]  

Hunting in Turkey is regulated by the legal framework provided in Law No. 4915, which provides rules regarding allowed hunting practices and equipment, maintenance of hunting grounds and conservation areas, hunting seasons, hunting licenses, and hunting tourism.[21] All hunters must obtain a hunter’s certificate and a hunting license to hunt legally in Turkey.[22] GWAR regulates the disposal of game taken in violation of Law No. 4915.[23]

B. Regulation of Animal Markets

Wild animals that are raised in regulated production facilities may be sold in live animal markets, which are regulated under AMR. AMR applies to all animal markets, live animal exchanges, fairs, and collection and sale centers used for the buying, selling, and storage (pending sale) of animals (hereinafter generally, ”animal markets”).[24] The scope of AMR was widened in July 2020 to include animal collection and sale centers.[25]

AMR requires all animal markets to be licensed by the provincial governorate.[26] Besides rules regarding zoning and infrastructure, AMR provides the minimum technical and hygienic standards to which the physical facilities of animal markets must comply to be licensed.[27] Among other things, animal markets must have facilities ensuring a certain level of animal welfare, and facilities and systems that maintain necessary hygiene such as manure cleaning systems, biological waste depots, animal quarantine zones, and offices for veterinarians.[28] AMR requires all animal markets to have a licensed veterinarian as a manager, who will be jointly responsible with the market owner for the proper operation of the market, including regular disinfection of the premises and taking other necessary measures against the impact of the market on the environment and public health, and the proper filing of official documents required by the Ministry under the relevant legislation, such as animal transport certificates and veterinarian reports.[29] Animal markets are subject to at least four periodic inspections a year by Ministry veterinarians.[30]

While the AMR regulates animal markets, persons selling certain live animals are subject to an additional set of rules under LATR. LATR applies to all persons buying, selling, and transporting cattle, sheep, goats, and swine-type animals for commercial purposes (hereinafter generally, ”purveyors”).[31] LATR provides detailed rules regarding the minimum technical and hygienic standards to which the premises purveyors use in connection with animal trade must conform.[32] LATR also provides rules applicable to the operation of purveyors regarding, among other things, animal welfare, the handling of animals, personal protective gear that workers must wear while on the premises, training of workers in matters of hygiene, and animal health inspections by state veterinarians.[33] The premises of purveyors are subject to inspection at least twice a year.[34]

In June 2019, the Ministry issued a circular detailing the procedures for the oversight and inspection of purveyors of live animals (“Circular”).[35] The Circular recognizes the heightened risk of zoonotic diseases due to the high volume of trade in live animals and the high volume of live animal freight between provinces. The Circular reiterates that the establishments of live animal purveyors must be inspected twice every year by a team of two Ministry veterinarians, who will prepare a report on the purveyors’ compliance with the minimum technical and hygiene standards set out in LATR, and it provides details about the inspection procedure.[36]

C. Additional Requirements for the Sale of Wild and Game Animals in Animal Markets

In addition to the rules provided in AMR and LATR, GWAR requires producers and breeders of game and wild animals who sell their animals and derivative products in animal markets to comply with certain extra requirements. Accordingly, these producers must display a copy of their production and breeding license on the premises where they sell their goods, have a copy of the place of origin certificate or a veterinarian’s report, ensure that their animals are labeled or marked, and prepare a ”Certificate of Sale or Donation of Game and Wild Animals and Products” for each concluded sale.[37]

III. Enforcement of Rules and Outbreaks of Zoonotic Diseases

While there are frequent reports of illegal butchering, meat smuggling, and zoonotic diseases that originate from the consumption of wild and game meat in the media and medical literature, it appears that almost all of the cases reported actually concern meat from domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, or swine.[38] Nevertheless, rare cases of zoonotic diseases caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked wild game meat have been reported in the medical literature.[39] Research did not find reporting of widespread illegal trade in wild game meat.

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Prepared by Kayahan Cantekin
Foreign Law Specialist
August 2020


[1] Veteriner Hizmetleri, Bitki Sağlığı, Gıda ve Yem Kanunu, Law No. 5996, Official Gazette [O.G.] No. 27619, June 13, 2010, https://perma.cc/653V-JZDY (in Turkish).

[2] Hayvan Satış Yerlerinin Ruhsatlandırılma ve Denetleme Usul Ve Esasları Hakkında Yönetmelik, O.G. No. 28152, Dec. 24, 2011, as amended, https://perma.cc/4ZSM-SV56 (in Turkish).

[3] Canlı Hayvan Ticareti Yapan Satıcıların Çalışma ve Denetlenmesi ile ilgili Usul ve Esaslar Hakkında Yönetmelik, O.G. No. 28177, Jan. 18, 2012, as amended, https://perma.cc/D3X4-7CRF (in Turkish).

[4] Av ve Yaban Hayvanları ile Bunlardan Elde Edilen Ürünlerin Bulundurulması, Üretimi ve Ticareti Hakkında Yönetmelik, O.G. No. 25847, June 16, 2005, https://perma.cc/5MF9-KDB7 (in Turkish).

[5] Hayvan ları Koruma Kanunu, Law No. 5199, O.G. No. 25509, July 1, 2004, https://perma.cc/626G-EUDY (in Turkish).

[6] Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, U.N.T.S. I-14537, entered into force July 1, 1975, https://perma.cc/FC2Q-LG8Q.

[7] Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats [Bern Convention], E.T.S. No. 104, entered into force June 1, 1982, https://perma.cc/R36D-XXQA.

[8] Hayvan Sağlığı ve Zabıtası Yönetmeliği, O.G. No. 20109, Mar. 15, 1989, as amended, https://perma.cc/KQT6-WTEZ (in Turkish).

[9] GWAR art. 64.

[10] Id. art. 68 et seq.

[11] Id. art. 65.

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Id. art. 4.

[15] Id. art. 17.

[16] Id. arts. 20 and 27.

[17] Id. arts. 75-81.

[18] Id. art. 82.

[19] Id. arts. 45-56.

[20] Id. art. 48.

[21] Kara Avcılığı Kanunu, Law No. 4915, O.G. No. 25165, July 11, 2003, as amended, https://perma.cc/7QMQ-CEHJ (in Turkish).

[22] Law No. 4915 art. 6.

[23] GWAR art. 85.

[24] AMR art. 2.

[25] By amending regulation published in O.G. No. 31190, July 19, 2020, https://perma.cc/FX8L-FC6N (in Turkish).

[26] AMR art. 5.

[27] Id. arts. 7-8/A.

[28] Id.

[29] Id. art. 9.

[30] Id. art. 12.

[31] LATR art. 4(g).

[32] Id. art. 10.

[33] Id. arts. 10-13.

[34] Id. art. 14.

[35] Ministry of Agric. & Forestry Gen. Directorate of Nutrition & Control, Circular No. 2019/3: On the Inspection and Control of Live Animal Purveyors (June 17, 2019), https://perma.cc/BTB8-Z3NG (in Turkish).

[36] Id.

[37] GWAR art. 70(2).

[38] See, e.g., Nurullah Akkoç et al., A Large-Scale Outbreak of Trichinellosis Caused by Trichinella britovi in Turkey, 56 Zoonoses & Pub. Health 65 (2009), https://perma.cc/RU3F-Y5ZF; Ergün Ayaz, Şarbon hastalığı görülen Dilovası'nda kaçak et operasyonu, Hürriyet (Sept. 8, 2007), https://perma.cc/7QF5-A2S7 (in Turkish); Salim Uzun, Kaçak etten uzak durum, Hürriyet (Sept. 5, 2018), https://perma.cc/WRW2-MT86 (in Turkish).

[39] Y. Heper et al., Letter to the Editor, A Trichinosis Outbreak Caused by Wild Boar Meat in Turkey, 12 Parasite 191 (2005), https://perma.cc/P537-E4S2.

Last Updated: 12/31/2020