Horse & Hound

Breeding and competitio­n horses affected by new EU law

EU countries need to apply to the UK for a new status by June for the sale of semen and embryos to continue

- By BECKY MURRAY

COMPETITIO­N and breeding horses could be affected by new requiremen­ts under EU animal health law as an important deadline looms.

As a result of Brexit, under EU legislatio­n, the UK and EU countries are required to apply to each other for third-country status to continue to trade breeding animals and germinal products such as semen and embryos.

The UK, and all UK studbooks, were granted this status by the European Commission in December, so trade can continue to Europe, but the deadline for EU countries to apply to Defra for the status is 30 June.

This requiremen­t is in addition to the extension of breeding territory for studbooks (news, 8 April). World Breeding Federation vice president Eva-Maria Broomer told H&H this could have repercussi­ons for the UK if thirdcount­ry status, and third-country studbook status, is not obtained by EU countries.

“If EU competent authoritie­s have not applied, they can’t sell the UK germinal products; that would be the end of the semen trade into this country,” she said. “That is a big risk because British breeders rely on having stallions available to them from Europe.”

Defra told H&H zootech approval within the EU and UK includes an applicatio­n for breed society recognitio­n and approval of a breeding programme.

“A breeding programme is a document that sets out the details of what the breed societies’ aims and ambitions are for that breed,” said the spokesman.

“It is a set of actions that would include how the animals are recorded, selected, details on breeding and exchange of breeding animals and their germinal products. It’s designed and implemente­d to preserve or enhance desired phenotypic and/ or genotypic characteri­stics in the target breeding population.”

The requiremen­t also has implicatio­ns for EU-bred sport horses sold to the UK.

“This requiremen­t is important for the breeding community, but equally important for the riding and competitio­n horses,” Dr Broomer said.

“The original studbooks need to continue to have zootechnic recognitio­n in our country, so that the horses can be sold as registered animals. If a horse is sold from the EU without UK zootechnic recognitio­n the horse is classed as unregister­ed.”

“Buying or selling an unregister­ed horse across the EU border will mean significan­tly higher import taxes, and the horse will be granted a lower health status, which will affect the ability for horses to travel for competitio­ns.”

IMPORT REQUIREMEN­TS

THE Defra spokesman said unregister­ed horses have to meet “more onerous” import and export requiremen­ts than registered horses, including different blood testing, residency and isolation requiremen­ts.

Trakehner breeder Sacha Shaw told H&H she usually imports semen directly from German studs as there is a limited number of stallions in the UK. This means she will rely on Germany and the Trakehner Verband studbook applying for third country status.

“The chairman of Trakehners UK is making sure the Verband is aware so they can apply and we can continue to get semen over here. Daughter studbooks in the UK will be making sure the mother studbooks in Europe are aware of the requiremen­t – but for those that don’t have daughter studbooks would they necessaril­y know that to keep providing for the British market that they need to file the right papers with Defra?

“I would say before most breeders wouldn’t have been aware of the new requiremen­ts, and therefore you don’t really know if studbooks in countries such as the Netherland­s and Germany have applied. That’s probably what breeders are most worried about.”

Sacha has also seen the UK side of proceeding­s, having been involved in applying for thirdcount­ry status for the British Riding Ponies studbook in her role as office manager for the National Pony Society.

“We were lucky that we had 826 Equine Studbooks Associatio­n to hold our hand but it was fairly simple to apply. It’s not something studbooks should find difficult, it’s just making sure that they know they have to do it in the first place,” she said.

The Defra spokesman added the body had been “active” in supporting EU competent authoritie­s (ministries of agricultur­e) to facilitate applicatio­ns.

“Applicatio­ns for third country listing will be accepted past the deadline of 30 June 2021, however after 1 July and until listed, the breeding body will not be able to continue to trade with the UK on equivalent terms.”

“This is important for breeding,

riding and competitio­n”

EVA-MARIA BROOMER

 ??  ?? Both breeding and the movement of sports horses will be affected if countries in Europe do not apply for third country status
Both breeding and the movement of sports horses will be affected if countries in Europe do not apply for third country status
 ??  ?? Edited by Eleanor Jones
Edited by Eleanor Jones

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