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Approved Establishments

There are certain serious animal diseases that could enter the U.S. through imported animal trophies, their hides or their feathers – but with proper processing, the disease agents are destroyed. 

To be safely imported, animal trophies and other animal hides or feathers from certain regions of the world must be sent directly to Approved Establishments for processing or sent to an Approved Warehouse for short term storage before processing at an Approved Establishment, unless they are accompanied by a VS import permit or a foreign government certificate.  APHIS requires this step in order to protect American livestock and poultry from foreign animal diseases. 

Items that Do Not Require Special Processing

The following items do not need special processing at an Approved Establishment:

  • Finished/mounted trophies
  • cleaned and dried bones, antlers, horns and hooves being used as trophies
  • flint dried hides not from countries with African swine fever
  • trophy/display materials from rabbits, rodents, fish, shellfish and non-human primates

You should still check with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before importing, because they may have their own import restrictions. 

Items that Require Special Processing

Unfinished animal trophies, hides and feathers that come from areas of the world with the following foreign animal diseases must undergo special processing to protect against introducing those diseases into the U.S.:

  • highly pathogenic avian influenza (for bird/poultry items)
  • virulent Newcastle disease (for bird/poultry items)
  • foot-and-mouth disease (for split-hooved animal items)
  • African swine fever (for swine items)

Information about which countries APHIS considers to be affected by these diseases is available on our Animal Disease Status page. 

If you are looking to import these trophies using an import permit or foreign certification, contact the APHIS animal product import staff by email at ASKNIES.Products@aphis.usda.gov or visit the Animal Health Permits page for more information. 

To bring in these materials for processing in the U.S., you will need to use a USDA Approved Establishment for processing.  The Approved Establishment will use proper processing techniques, which are specific to the animal materials and the diseases of concern, to inactivate or remove any potential disease causing agents.  After the processing is complete, they will release the materials back to you. 

Find an Approved Establishment

USDA maintains a database of approved establishments, which is sortable by state and item type.  You will need to select an Approved Establishment before you begin the import process. 

Becoming an Approved Establishment

If you are a taxidermist and are interested in becoming an Approved Establishment, you will need to work with USDA to develop the appropriate plans and have your facility inspected by one of our veterinary officials.  Contact your local Veterinary Services Service Center to begin the process.

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