AQHA Meets with the European Commission

By AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines

On January 11, AQHA Chief International Officer Dr. Anna Morrison, Federation of European Quarter Horse Associations President Dr. Andrew Dren and I met with Dr. Alf-Eckbert Füssel, deputy head of animal health and welfare for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. The purpose of this visit was to clarify items related to the EU laws that went into place on November 1, 2018, including requirements for zootechnical certificates, so that AQHA could ensure it is following the appropriate steps to support AQHA members and facilitate trade with members in the European Union.

I’ve put together a summary of important information that AQHA learned, as well as updates to the process AQHA has undertaken to support zootechnical certificate requirements.

Zootechnical Certificates

Beginning on November 1, 2018, the European Union adopted new regulations related to animal breeding organizations and processes. Among these regulations was the requirement for zootechnical certificates for breeding animals and their germinal products (semen, embryos, etc.). While it was originally understood to be a requirement of import, AQHA has learned that the primary purpose of the zootechnical certificate is to ensure the breeding animal or the resulting offspring of the breeding animal or germinal products will be eligible for entry into the studbook of origin (AQHA), and therefore any daughter studbooks of AQHA in the European Union. The implications of zootechnical certificates for live animals versus germinal products vary slightly, and are summarized as follows:

Live Animals: Zootechnical certificates are not required as an import document, except to identify the animal as a registered animal, therefore exempting the importer from certain customs taxes. EU law1 allows registration certificates from recognized breeding bodies, such as AQHA, to be utilized in place of the model zootechnical certificate form. However, in order to create a uniform set of information that can be easily understood at various import locations throughout the EU, AQHA will translate an animal’s registration information into the model zootechnical certificate form to accompany live animal exports to the EU.

Exporters in need of a zootechnical certificate for live animals can contact AQHA by email at to make this request. Included in the request should be the breeding animal name, registration number and name of the facility/individual facilitating the export. In turn, AQHA will provide by email a completed zootechnical certificate for the animal.

Semen and other Germinal Products: Zootechnical certificates are not required as an import document by the EU, but rather provide a guarantee that the resulting foals may be eligible for entry into the studbook of origin, and therefore daughter studbooks in the European Union. Because of this, zootechnical certificates might be required for semen that is already being stored in the European Union. Completing zootechnical certificate requirements in conjunction with an export to the EU might help make the process smoother. Because zootechnical certificates for semen and other germinal products include information that AQHA cannot attest to, such as semen storage/identification information, semen collection and storage centers are authorized to complete the certificates utilizing the supplemental information provided by AQHA.

Exporters in need of registration and genetic test information for zootechnical certificates for semen and other germinal products can contact AQHA by email at to  request information. Included in the request should be the breeding animal name, registration number, an indication of whether the certificate is for semen or other germinal products, and the name of the facility/individual preparing the zootechnical certificate. In turn, AQHA will provide by email a letter attesting to the validity of the registration and genetic test information provided, as well as the purpose for which it is provided, a four-generation pedigree and genetic test results for the breeding animal.

While the European Commission has expressed its support of the process AQHA has enacted for zootechnical certificates, some AQHA affiliates in the EU are still navigating questions and concerns with their in-country competent authorities. AQHA continues to support open communication with its affiliates and their competent authorities to ensure that AQHA members in and outside of the EU do not experience trade disruptions.

Questions regarding zootechnical certificates and AQHA’s commitment to support American Quarter Horse breeders in meeting EU regulations can be directed to

Questions regarding AQHA’s international programs or EU support can be directed to 

1Official Journal of the European Union, L171, Volume 59, Chapter VII, Article 31.2.a

The National Reining Horse Association is not responsible for information contained in this press release. Please contact the author or submitting organization for further information, requests or questions.