Article 10 & Annex A Category Tortoises

All tortoises that full under the Annex A category are legally required to have an Article 10 (A10) License (certificate) before any commercial transaction can take place. If you would like to sell your tortoise and it is on the Annex A list you must either have an Article 10 certificate or apply for and obtain one before the sale is made. There currently isn’t any requirement for a license in order to own or keep an Annex A tortoise, or if you decide to give one away as a gift.

The following tortoises currently fall under the Annex A category:-

  • Angonoka  (Geochelone yniphora)
  • Berger’s cape tortoise  (Homopus bergeri)
  • Bolson tortoise  (Gopherus flavomarginatus)
  • Egyptian tortoise  (Testudo kleinmanni)
  • Geometric tortoise  (Psammobates geometricus)
  • Hermann’s tortoise  (Testudo hermanni)
  • Madagascar flat-shelled tortoise (Pyxis planicauda)
  • Madagascar spider tortoise  (Pyxis arachnoides)
  • Marginated tortoise   (Testudo marginata)
  • Negev tortoise  (Testudo wernei)
  • Pancake tortoise  (Malacochersus tornieri)
  • Radiated tortoise  (Geochelone radiata)
  • Spur-thighed tortoise  (Testudo graeca)
  • Galapagos Giant Tortoise  (Geochelone nigra)

Currently there are two types of Article 10 license. They are the Specimen Specific Certificate (SSC) & the Transaction Specific Certificate (TSC)

Specimen Specific Certificates (SSC) for tortoises 100mm or more in length:-

1. SSCs are issued for Micro Chipped tortoises on the Annex A register that are 100mm or more in length. The certificate has to remain with the tortoise throughout it’s entire life and must clearly display the Microchips number that has been inserted into the tortoise. Any sale or other commercial transaction involving any tortoise on the Annex A register must be accompanied by the relevant and original SSC.

2. How to apply for a SSC (Specimen Specific Certificate)

If your tortoise already has a Transaction Specific Certificate:-

Once a tortoise reaches 100mm in length it is a legal requirement that the tortoise is Micro chipped and to apply for a SSC if the tortoise is to be sold or used for another commercial purpose. Applications need to be made using the form FED1012 obtained from DEFRA . You will also need to include the microchip number and the TSC number.If you have the original TSC then it needs to returned with your application.

If your tortoise has been captive bred in the UK without any supporting documents or evidence.

If your tortoise has been captive bred in the UK and you do not possess any documentation to prove / reinforce the fact that the tortoise is captive bred, it is unlikely that you will be able to obtain a full SSC. All applications need to made in writing and forwarded to DEFRA with the application form FED1012 enclosed. Each case is judged on its own merits and treated separately from the next. Usually they will issue a Breeder’s Certificate instead, but this can not be guaranteed. This could be issued in the form of a TSC or a SSC, this will depend on whether or not the tortoise is micro chipped and over 100mm in length. A Breeder’s Certificate will not permit the sale of the tortoise. However it will allow for the tortoise to be bred and then you will be able to apply for TSCs for any hatchlings you may have.

If you tortoise was imported into the UK before 1984

Once again each application is judged on it’s own merits and each case is treated separately from the next. Applications still need to be made using the form FED1012 and should accompany as much detail as possible.

Below is some information that can be included which would prove very helpful to support your application:-

  • A letter from the last keeper to confirm the gifting of the tortoise and when they gave the tortoise to you.
  • Details of any relationship you have with the previous keeper or how you know the previous keeper and came by the tortoise.
  • Covering letters from previous keepers and their details
  • Any details of when, where and how the original keeper obtained the tortoise and it’s original origin
  • Any details relating to the tortoises microchip number

If your application for a full SSC is denied by DEFRA, they may consider issuing a breeders certificate which will be a valid Article 10. This will allow you to register any hatchlings for a TSC. However this will not permit the sale of the said tortoise.

Transaction Specific Certificate (TSC) for tortoises less than 100mm

  • TSC are usually issued by DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) for Annex A tortoises, that are captive bred and are under 100mm. The breeding pair also need to possess valid certificates. Any TSC that is issued by DEFRA will only be valid for one commercial (sale) transaction. It must also show the breeder/seller in box one of the Article 10.
  • Any certificate that does not clearly show the breeder/seller in box 1 on the Article 10 is invalid. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a legal requirement for the breeder/seller to give the original license on sale of the Annex A tortoise. A scanned or photocopy of the Article 10 or a copy of the certificate numbers is more than adequate. However it is important to remember that the buyer must view the original Article 10 and verify that all of the details on the certificate are correct.
  • If the seller/breeder refuses to to give the original Article 10 Certificate. We recommend that you enquire into the reasons behind them not wanting to hand over thr original certificate.
  • A TSC becomes invalid for any commercial transaction once any tortoise exceeds 100mm. If the tortoise is going to be kept as a pet then the tortoise does not have to be microchipped at this point in time. You should keep the TSC in a safe place as it may be required at a later date. If your certificate is lost it is rare that DEFRA will issue a replacement. If you wish to use your tortoise for breeding or wish to sell your tortoise it is a requirement that an unalterable microchip be implanted into the tortoise.
  • We highly recommend that any micro chipping is carried out by a fully qualified vet that is also experienced in micro chipping tortoises.
  • Once the microchip has been implanted the details of the TSC and the microchip number should be supplied to DEFRA on a new application on form FED1012 and should be requesting a SSC.
  • If all the details supplied are correct and there are no omissions or errors on your application, a new Article 10 will be issued by DEFRA with the microchip number recorded on the new Article 10 SSC.
  • When applying for a TSC for uk bred hatchlings you are required to include the Article 10 certificate & microchip numbers alongside the FED1012 application form.

Breeders Certificates

A Breeders Certificate can be issued in the form of a TSC or an SSC. All Breeders Certificates are issued by DEFRA when there is insufficent or inconclusive evidence to support the facts that a tortoise is captive bred. A Breeders Certificate will allow the bearer to breed from the tortoise and apply for licenses for any off spring. However it does not authorise the sale of the tortoise stated on the Breeders Certificate.

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