Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
Intra-EU trade in and imports of bovine semen

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Multilingual display

Intra-EU trade in and imports of bovine semen



Directive 88/407/EEC — animal health requirements for trade within the EU and imports of semen of bovine domestic animals


It sets out the animal health rules applying to bovine (principally cattle, bison and buffalo) semen traded within and imported into the European Union (EU).


  • Bovine semen must meet the following conditions before it enters the EU or is moved to another EU country:
    • it must have been collected, processed, stored and transported, using facilities and practices approved for the purpose, free from foot-and-mouth disease and other notifiable diseases;
    • it must have been collected from healthy domestic animals from herds quarantined for a minimum of 28 days, free from tuberculosis, brucellosis and leucosis, and which have not been vaccinated against foot-and-mouth disease in the previous 12 months (or are negative for the disease);
    • specified concentrations of antibiotics must be added;
    • unless it is fresh, the semen must be stored in approved conditions for a minimum of 30 days prior to dispatch; and
    • it must be accompanied during transport by an animal health certificate.
  • Imports of bovine semen to the EU must also comply with the above conditions and are allowed only from listed and authorised non-EU countries, based on:
    • the general health of animals and wildlife in the non-EU country;
    • the quality of communication on the existence of contagious animal diseases;
    • rules on animal disease prevention and control;
    • the structure of the veterinary services;
    • measures to prevent and control contagious animal diseases; and
    • guarantees given relating to compliance with this directive.
  • Veterinary experts from the European Commission may, in cooperation with EU and non-EU national authorities, carry out checks to ensure uniform application of the directive.
  • In managing the animal health requirements applicable to the trade in bovine semen, the Commission is assisted by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed .


It has applied since 29 June 1988. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 1 January 1990.


Directive 88/407/EEC will be repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) 2016/429 from 21 April 2021.


For more information, see:


Council Directive 88/407/EEC of 14 June 1988 laying down the animal health requirements applicable to intra- Community trade in and imports of deep-frozen semen of domestic animals of the bovine species (OJ L 194, 22.7.1988, pp. 10–23)

Successive amendments to Directive 88/407/EEC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, pp. 1–24)

See consolidated version.

Commission Decision 2007/240/EC of 16 April 2007 laying down new veterinary certificates for importing live animals, semen, embryos, ova and products of animal origin into the Community pursuant to Decisions 79/542/EEC, 92/260/EEC, 93/195/EEC, 93/196/EEC, 93/197/EEC, 95/328/EC, 96/333/EC, 96/539/EC, 96/540/EC, 2000/572/EC, 2000/585/EC, 2000/666/EC, 2002/613/EC, 2003/56/EC, 2003/779/EC, 2003/804/EC, 2003/858/EC, 2003/863/EC, 2003/881/EC, 2004/407/EC, 2004/438/EC, 2004/595/EC, 2004/639/EC and 2006/168/EC (notified under document number C(2007) 1622) (OJ L 104, 21.4.2007, pp. 37–50)

Commission Implementing Decision 2011/630/EU of 20 September 2011 on imports into the Union of semen of domestic animals of the bovine species (notified under document (C(2011) 6426) (OJ L 247, 24.9.2011, pp. 32–46)

See consolidated version.

Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (‘Animal Health Law’) (OJ L 84, 31.3.2016, pp. 1–208)

last update 09.01.2017