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Document 01990L0427-20181101

Horses (semen, ova & embryos) – trade within the EU

This summary has been archived and will not be updated. See 'Zootechnical and genealogical conditions for the breeding, trade in and entry into the EU of certain animals' for an updated information about the subject.

Horses (semen, ova & embryos) – trade within the EU


Directive 90/427/EEC – zootechnical and genealogical conditions governing intra-EU trade in equidae



It harmonises the zootechnical* and genealogical conditions under which horses (including all animals in the equidae* family), and their semen, ova and embryos, are bought and sold within the European Union (EU).


Under this directive, horses must be registered and identified, and genealogical rules are introduced, giving the European Commission responsibility for:

determining the criteria for how horses are identified;

the approval of organisations keeping studbooks*;

the entry of horses in studbooks.

In trade within the EU, horses registered in the country of dispatch must be entered in the studbook of the country of destination under the same name.

Each EU country is responsible for updating a list of organisations operating studbooks, and for circulating this list among other EU countries.

The directive also covers zootechnical rules. For example, the Commission must determine the general rules for registered breeding horses and performance monitoring methods. In addition, EU countries must ensure that when they are bought or sold, horses (or semen, ova and embryos), are accompanied by a certificate of origin and identification.

Trade of horses within the EU may not be prohibited or restricted on genealogical or zootechnical grounds.

The general health requirements for horse semen, ova and embryos are harmonised in Directive 92/65/EEC which also sets out rules for the approval of semen and embryo collection centres and production teams.

Regulation (EU) 2015/262 strengthens the EU's documentation and identification rules with the introduction of a horse passport scheme.


It entered into force on 4 July 1990. EU countries had to incorporate it in their national law by 1 July 1991.


Intra-Union Trade in and Imports of Equine Animals


*Equidae: members of the horse family, including horses, donkeys, zebras and cross-bred animals.

*Zootechnical: pertaining to the technology of animal husbandry, including domestication and breeding.

*Studbook: a book, or other form of record, listing eligible registered horses, with a mention of their known ascendants.


Council Directive 90/427/EEC of 26 June 1990 on the zootechnical and genealogical conditions governing intra-Community trade in equidae (OJ L 224, 18.8.1990, pp. 55–59)

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 90/427/EEC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is for reference only.


Commission Decision 92/353/EEC of 11 June 1992 laying down the criteria for the approval or recognition of organizations and associations which maintain or establish studbooks for registered equidae (OJ L 192, 11.7.1992, pp. 63–65)

Commission Decision 92/354/EEC of 11 June 1992 laying down certain rules to ensure coordination between organizations and associations which maintain or establish studbooks for registered equidae (OJ L 192, 11.7.1992, p. 66)

Council Directive 92/65/EEC of 13 July 1992 laying down animal health requirements governing trade in and imports into the Community of animals, semen, ova and embryos not subject to animal health requirements laid down in specific Community rules referred to in Annex A (I) to Directive 90/425/EEC (OJ L 268, 14.9.1992, pp. 54–72). See consolidated version.

Commission Decision 96/78/EC of 10 January 1996 laying down the criteria for entry and registration of equidae in stud-books for breeding purposes (OJ L 19, 25.1.1996, pp. 39–40)

Commission Decision 96/79/EC of 12 January 1996 laying down the zootechnical certificates of semen, ova and embryos from registered equidae (OJ L 19, 25.1.1996, pp. 41–49)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/262 of 17 February 2015 laying down rules pursuant to Council Directives 90/427/EEC and 2009/156/EC as regards the methods for the identification of equidae (Equine Passport Regulation) (OJ L 59, 3.3.2015, pp. 1–51)

last update 27.11.2015