Frequently asked questions about zootechnical rules and standards from 1st January 2021.

Importing a purebred animal from Great Britain or the European Union

What do I need to do in order to import a purebred animal into Northern Ireland after 1st January 2021?

Purebred animals entering Northern Ireland will need:

  • to meet all current veterinary/ Animal Health requirements; and
  • be accompanied by a Zootech Certificate at the Point of Entry.  This includes animals moving from GB to NI, which have been traded by members of the same society and are remaining in that society’s breed books

If you are a member of a UK Breed Society and wish to import an animal from a non-EU Breeder and enter it into your society breeding books, you should check that 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 an equivalent breed society’s breeding book in the UK.

What is a Zootech Certificate and how do I obtain it?

A Zootech Certificate serves to verify the registration and genetic test information of a breeding animal. The certificates are issued by Breeding Societies and must accompany any animal or germinal product that is traded and entered into another Breeding Book.

Can a pedigree certificate and a zootechnical double as one certificate?

A. Yes, they can double as one certificate. However, this will be a society decision and the requirements of the certificate must meet and be approved as acceptable as per the model zootechnical certificates outlined in retained UK law.

Trading purebred animals and related germinal products with EU Member States or listed non-EU countries

What do I need to ensure I can still trade with the Republic of Ireland, other EU member states and listed non-EU countries?

If you are an Officially Recognised UK Breed Society or Breeder, you may need to make some changes to continue trading with the EU and listed non-EU countries.

The EU Commission issued an information note to stakeholders in April 2020 advising them of the position:

If you do not trade with EU bodies, you do not need to do anything differently.

What happens if an EU country breed society refuses to provide a zootechnical certificate or will only supply an export certificate as the UK is considered a third country?

Breeding animals and germinal products imported to the UK must be accompanied by a valid zootechnical certificate to enable entry into the main section of your breeding book. If your society is a third country listed breed society, the EU breed society must send a zootechnical certificate with the animals or germinal products.

Trading purebred animals and related germinal products with the Republic of Ireland

What do I need to do to trade with Breeders in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland?

Animals born in Northern Ireland can still be entered into an equivalent Breeding Book based in the Republic of Ireland provided they:

  • have a valid UK Zootech Certificate issued by a Third Country listed UK breed society or studbook; and
  • such animals are moved onto a holding in the Republic of Ireland (or somewhere else in the EU).

What are the rules for trading with countries which are not EU Member States (Third Countries)?

From 1stJanuary 2021, Breeding Bodies which have already attained Third Country listing with the EU can continue to send their purebred breeding animals and germinal products to Northern Ireland. These bodies will also continue to be recognised by the UK.

The UK will maintain its own list of Breeding 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 are 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.

Exporting purebred animals or germinal products from GB or NI to the EU

What is required to 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 as a third country approved breeding body.

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

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

Operation of Breed Societies from 1st January 2021

My Society has members in EU Member States, what happens to those members on the 1st of January 2021?

From 1st January 2021, members of your Society will no longer be able to register animals in your Breeding Book that are not kept within the UK.

Any living animals that are currently registered in your Breeding Book, but kept in Member States, must be moved, by 1st January 2021, into an equivalent Breeding Book either within that Member State or within the EU if the equivalent Breeding Book is extended into the Member State of your Society member.

Extended Breeding Programmes

What are the rules around extended breeding programmes?

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

UK-based breeders and breed societies will no longer have access to the EU breeding programme extension. This means you can only enter animals or germinal products into an EU Breeding Book provided they:

  • have a Zootech Certificate issued by a UK Breed Society listed by the European Commission; and
  • physically enter the EU

Where a Breeding Programme is extended to the UK from the EU, the UK has agreed to accept animals from EU based organisations as an extension of their Breeding Programme.

Your UK animals (and any germinal products they produce) can be issued with a valid Zootech Certificate recognised by the EU if they have been registered in EU Breeding Books before 1st January 2021.

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

Obtaining Third Country Listing from the EU

How can a Society request to be part of the European Commission list of UK Breed Societies?

If you would like your Breed Society to trade with EU or listed non-EU (Third) Country Organisations on or after 1st 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 in addition to Society and Studbook rules.

To register your Officially Recognised UK Breed Society as Third Country Listed with the EU, contact DAERA at DAERA will then contact DEFRA who will submit your application for listing as a non-EU (Third) Country Breeding Body to the European Commission

Re-Identification of Purebred Animals moving from GB to NI

if you are moving cattle, pigs, sheep or goats into NI from Great Britain GB, you will need to ensure that the GB keeper/ seller has correctly identified these animals to ensure they comply with the new entry requirements. You will also be required to re-tag livestock brought from GB to your holding in NI.

More information on these requirements can be found at The identification of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats imported to, or exported from Northern Ireland, from 1st January 2021.

When animals are re-identified after entry into NI, does the previous identity need to be display on a zootechnical certificate or should the certificate display the new DAERA issued identity?

The new identification issued to the keeper in NI is the official identify of the animal. Your society should be able to issue you with a new certificate displaying that identity, when the animal changes ownership. DAERA can provide validating evidence to correlate a GB identity with any new identity applied to the animal in NI.  

Breed societies and owners have concerns that the new DAERA issued identity cannot be accommodated on existing databases. What can be done in the short term?

DAERA is happy to provide validation of any newly identified animal. Keepers or societies should contact DAERA prior to re-identification taking place, so that an official can verify the process. Following the re-identification, an approved and stamped form will be provided to the keeper, showing the previous identity and the new identity. The keeper can provide this to the society for use to update or link the new identity.


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