The prevalence of vancomycin resistant-enterococci (VRE) in faecal samples from cattle, sheep and pigs slaughtered for human consumption was evaluated. Enterococci containing the vanA gene were detected in 25.3% and 2.7% of the porcine and ovine samples, respectively, and were identified as Enterococcus faecium. No vanA-containing enterococcal strains were detected in bovine samples. Enterococcal strains with intrinsic vancomycin resistance were detected in seven (9.9%) faecal samples from pigs and in two samples from both cattle and sheep (3.7% and 2.7%, respectively). All vanA-positive isolates from pigs were resistant to tetracycline and erythromycin, and the mobile element Tn916/Tn1545-like transposon was detected in 90.5% of the tetracycline-resistant isolates that contained the tet(M) gene. Although gelatinase and haemolytic activity were not detected, the hyl and cylB virulence genes were found within the VRE strains isolated. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.