Guide to zootechnical rules and standards from 1 January 2021

Find out the zootechnical rules you need to follow after 1 January 2021.

The UK has left the EU

This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It’ll be updated if anything changes.

You can also read about the transition period.

Zootechnical regulations will remain largely the same after 1 January 2021 because of the Animal Breeding (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations.

If you’re an officially recognised UK breed society or breeder, you may need to make some changes to continue trading with the EU and participating non-EU countries.

Once the new process is confirmed, Defra will publish details on this page.

If you don’t trade with EU bodies, you don’t need to do anything differently.

Export purebred breeding animals or germinal products to the EU

To trade on zootechnical terms, you must be officially recognised and carry out one or more approved breeding programmes.

You must also be listed by the European Commission.

You will not be able to register your animals in the UK with EU breeding bodies after 1 January 2021.

If you export purebred breeding animals or germinal products to the EU, the animals must have a valid zootechnical certificate issued by a listed non-EU (third) country breeding body..

Without a valid certificate, animals may not be entered into breeding books in the EU.

For equines, if your horse passport was issued by a studbook passport issuing organisation (PIO), it will only be valid for travel if that PIO is listed by the EU.

Get listed in the European Commission list of UK breed societies

If you want your breed society to trade with EU or listed non-EU (third) country organisations on or after 1 January 2021, it needs to be listed as an approved third country body.

The European Commission keeps a list of breeding bodies in non-EU countries that meet certain requirements for their breeding programmes and society and studbook rules.

To register your officially recognised UK breed society as third country listed, contact Defra at Defra will submit your application for listing as a non-EU (third) country breeding body to the European Commission.

Breeding programme extension

The breeding programme extension rules will change from 1 January 2021.

UK-based breeders and breed societies will no longer have access to the breeding programme extension.

This means you can only enter animals or germinal products into an EU breeding book if they:

  • have a zootech certificate issued by a UK breed society listed by the European Commission
  • physically enter the EU

Where a breeding programme is extended to the UK, you can register your UK animals into equivalent EU breeding books until 1 January 2021. Your UK animals (and any germinal products they produce) can be issued with a valid zootech certificate recognised by the EU if they are registered in EU breeding books before 1 January 2021.

If you have breeding animals in the UK currently entered in breeding books recognised in the EU, you may consider also registering those animals in the UK. This can be done before 1 January 2021, in the breeding books established for the same breed or cross in the UK.

Zootech trade with non-EU countries

From 1 January 2021, breeding bodies currently listed with the EU can continue to send their purebred breeding animals and germinal products to the UK.

The UK will maintain its own list of breed bodies based in non-EU countries that meet the necessary zootechnical standards. All non-EU breeding bodies listed by the EU before 1 January 2021 will be entered into this new list.

If you’re a UK breed society and want to import an animal from a non-EU breeder and enter it into your breeding books, you should check the breeder is a member of one of the listed breeding bodies.

Animals and germinal products from listed breeding bodies conform to the zootechnical standards and can be entered into a breed society’s breeding book.

Breeders in Ireland and Northern Ireland

If your breed society operates on an all-Ireland basis, animals born in Northern Ireland can still be entered into breeding books based in Ireland if they:

  • have a valid UK zootech certificate issued by a third country listed UK breed society or studbook
  • are moved onto a holding in Ireland (or somewhere else in the EU
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