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For Equine Vets Everywhere

2019 Update On Imported Semen Certification 

BEVA issued the following guidance on 17/05/19:

Defra and the APHA have agreed to accept chilled semen imported from the EU if it is accompanied by a copy of the signed, stamped and correctly dated Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC).  This flexibility has been introduced because of the challenges faced by some regions in ensuring that original documents accompany imported fresh semen.    


  • Only fully authorised original ITAHCs or copies of signed, stamped and correctly dated ITAHCs should be accepted (e.g. a scanned and emailed copy of the original authorised document). 
  • If the accompanying document is not of a copy of the fully authorised (i.e. signed, stamped and correctly dated) ITAHC then the semen should be rejected.
  • The original paper document (the fully authorised ITAHC) must be received retrospectively.  
  • As set out in Defra’s March 2019 guidance – Import of Equine Genetic Material from EU Countries (http://apha.defra.gov.uk/documents/bip/iin/eg-eu-1.pdf) – there is still a requirement for the importer to pre-notify the APHA before the arrival of the consignment.

This new guidance supersedes some of the previous Defra guidance (below) which required that the original ITAHC document accompanied all imported semen.

BEVA issued a press release on imported semen certification (available here) on 28th July 2017 

The following statement was issued by Defra's International Trade Division on 18th August 2017. 

To prevent the spread and import of diseases into the UK which could prove harmful to equine, It is important that the imported semen is accompanied by the correct health certificate which contains its own health attestation which must be adhered to before the semen can be imported into the country.  The certifying vet of the exporting country has to ensure that the health requirements have been adhered to before they can sign the health certificate.   

When APHA receive a request to import equine semen, one of the attached e-mails is sent depending on whether it is coming from a third country or the EU. They outline the specific requirements and regulations.  

If a vet is presented with imported semen that does not have the correct certification, they must refuse to inseminate the mare and contact their Local Authority immediately so they can take action against the agent/importer.   

This is a contravention of regulation 5(1) of TARP.  


Movement between member States 

Movement of animals and genetic material between Member States 

5.—(1) No animal or genetic material may be consigned to another member State, or brought into England from another member State, unless it is accompanied by the completed, signed health certificate required for that animal or genetic material in the relevant instrument in Schedule 1. 

Regarding the penalties of a vet inseminating a mare with imported semen with no health certificate it will be for the RCVS to decide through their Disciplinary Committee, but penalties could go from temporary suspension to practice to removal from the Royal College.