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Marketing of pure-bred animals

The European Union (EU) lays down harmonised rules for the marketing of pure-bred animals for which the zootechnical rules have not yet been the subject of Community legislation.


Council Directive 91/174/EEC of 25 March 1991 laying down zootechnical and pedigree requirements for the marketing of pure-bred animals and amending Directives 77/504/EEC and 90/425/EEC.


The Directive applies to the marketing of pure-bred animals and their semen, ova and embryos, other than those of bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine species.

It defines the term ‘pure-bred animal’ as any animal for breeding the trade in which has not yet been the subject of more specific Community zootechnical legislation and which is entered or registered in a register or pedigree record kept by a recognized breeders' organization or association.

Member States must ensure that the marketing of pure-bred animals and of the semen, ova and embryos thereof is not prohibited, restricted or impeded on zootechnical or pedigree grounds.

Moreover, they must ensure that the following are adopted in a non-discriminatory manner:

  • the criteria for approval and recognition of breeders' organizations or associations;
  • the criteria for entry or registration in pedigree records or registers;
  • the criteria for approval for reproduction of purebred animals and the use of their semen, ova and embryos;
  • the certificate to be required for their marketing.

Pending the adoption of Community rules, the requirements applying to imports of pure-bred animals and their semen, ova and embryos from non-EC countries may not be more favourable than those applied to intra-Community trade.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 91/174/EEC



OJ L 85 of 5.4.1991


Council Directive 90/425/EEC of 26 June 1990 concerning veterinary and zootechnical checks applicable in intra-Community trade in certain live animals and products with a view to the completion of the internal market [Official Journal L 224 of 18.8.1990].
This Directive abolishes veterinary and zootechnical checks at the internal borders of the European Union. At the same time, it reinforces the checks to be carried out on dispatch and at the places of destination.

Last updated: 03.02.2011
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