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The Animal Breeding Regulation lays down the rules for trade in breeding animals and their germinal products.

First published:
21 January 2021
Last updated:

The regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/1012) applies to purebred equines, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, hybrid pigs and their germinal products (such as semen and embryos). 

Official Recognition

The zootechnical regime is voluntary. It facilitates trade in pedigree breeding animals and germinal products on favourable terms. 

Organisations wishing to trade on zootechnical terms must be an officially recognised breed society or breeding operation. They must carry out one or more approved breeding programme. They must meet zootechnical rules and standards to be able to trade on favourable terms. 

Animals and germinal products from recognised breed societies, or breeding operations, in one country are treated the same in other countries. Other countries currently include the UK, EU and some non-EU countries such as the USA and Australia.

To become an officially recognised breed society or breeding operation, you must: 

  • keep a breeding book for your herd or flock book 
  • have legal status (for example, be a limited company) 
  • employ qualified staff 
  • operate efficiently – for example, handle and store information safely and manage complaints consistently 
  • have rules of association which govern membership. For example, rules against discrimination between members 
  • be able to check the recording pedigrees of the breeding animals
  • have a sufficiently large population of breeding animals within the geographical territories
  • be able to generate and use data collected on breeding animals, if appropriate. 

Further information is available in this  Guide to zootechnical rules and standards on the GOV.UK site.

Welsh Government or your devolved authority will only grant official recognition for one society of each breed in the UK at any one time. This is to ensure integrity of each breed is maintained. 

See the list of officially recognised UK breed societies

Once your breed society is officially recognised you must keep all your contact information up to date. Email with details of any changes. 

If your society would like to apply for official recognition please contact: 

EU Transition & Trade Policy 
Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer 
Welsh Government 
CF10 3NQ 

Guide to Zootechnical rules and standards from 1 January 2021

Zootechnical regulations will remain largely the same after 1 January 2021. 

If you are an officially recognised UK breed society or breeder, you may need to make changes to continue trading on favourable terms with the EU and participating non-EU countries. 

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

Further information is available in this Guide to zootechnical rules and standards from 1 January 2021 on the GOV.UK site.