This notice provides information to help breed societies recognised under zootechnical legislation and related breeders and businesses get ready for changes they may need to make if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 without a deal.

The legislation applies to purebred equines, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, hybrid breeding pigs and their germinal products.

Before 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020)

Zootechnical legislation facilitates trade in purebred breeding animals and their germinal products. Separate species-specific legislation is being replaced by a new streamlined regulation in November 2018. It allows breed societies to apply to be recognised and have their breeding programme approved by a member state competent authority if they meet zootechnical standards.

Once recognised they are entitled to certain rights. For example, a pedigree bull from a recognised UK breed society can be automatically treated as a pedigree by an equivalent breed society in another EU member state.

Purebred animals being traded and entered into another breed society register or breeding book must be accompanied by a zootechnical certificate.

UK breeding programmes can also be extended into the territory of another EU member state.

After March 2019 if there’s no deal

In the unlikely event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK would become a third country from March 2019. UK-recognised breed societies and operations involved in the trade and movement of purebred livestock and germinal products would no longer be recognised societies or operations in the EU.

A recognised UK breed society or breeding operation would no longer be automatically entitled to enter their pedigree breeding animals into an equivalent breeding book in the EU and would have no right to extend a breeding programme into the EU.

Existing EU legislation allows for trade with third country breed societies and operations. This provides for the European Commission to maintain a list of breeding bodies in third countries that meet certain requirements relating to equivalence of their breeding programmes and rules of procedure to those in the EU. As the Commission indicated in a notice to breeders of 21 November 2017, in a ‘no deal’ scenario UK zootechnical businesses that meet these requirements would be treated as third country breeding bodies by the EU.

This would allow them to enter pedigree breeding animals into equivalent EU breeding books or registers as they can now, provided the animals are accompanied by a zootechnical certificate in accordance with the existing EU legislation. Defra will shortly contact Zootech stakeholders directly to discuss the steps they need to take to plan for March 2019, including providing any information needed to enable Defra to submit their applications for listing as third country breeding bodies to the Commission.

Zootechnical certificates would continue to be issued by breed societies and breeding operations as now.

The arrangements for EU-recognised breed societies and operations operating in the UK would not change initially. They would continue to have access to the UK in the same way as they do now.

More information

You may also want to refer to separate technical notices on exporting and importing animals and animal products.

This notice is meant for guidance only. You should consider whether you need separate professional advice before making specific preparations.

It is part of the government’s ongoing programme of planning for all possible outcomes. We expect to negotiate a successful deal with the EU.

The UK government is clear that in this scenario we must respect our unique relationship with Ireland, with whom we share a land border and who are co-signatories of the Belfast Agreement. The UK government has consistently placed upholding the Agreement and its successors at the heart of our approach. It enshrines the consent principle on which Northern Ireland’s constitutional status rests. We recognise the basis it has provided for the deep economic and social cooperation on the island of Ireland. This includes North-South cooperation between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which we’re committed to protecting in line with the letter and spirit of Strand two of the Agreement.

The Irish government have indicated they would need to discuss arrangements in the event of no deal with the European Commission and EU Member States. The UK would stand ready in this scenario to engage constructively to meet our commitments and act in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland, recognising the very significant challenges that the lack of a UK-EU legal agreement would pose in this unique and highly sensitive context.

It remains, though, the responsibility of the UK government, as the sovereign government in Northern Ireland, to continue preparations for the full range of potential outcomes, including no deal. As we do, and as decisions are made, we’ll take full account of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.

Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area and participate in other EU arrangements. As such, in many areas, these countries adopt EU rules. Where this is the case, these technical notices may also apply to them, and EEA businesses and citizens should consider whether they need to take any steps to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario.

Share this article