How will Brexit affect the breeding industry?

In this period of uncertainty, is is natural to feel stressed and confused about how Brexit could affect the British breeding industry. There is a huge amount of mis-information being spread on social media, so we would always advise speaking to industry experts if you have any questions or concerns. 


Will I still be able to use chilled semen in 2019 and beyond?

The answer is YES! There is currently no reason to believe that chilled semen imports will be impossible after Brexit, regardless of whether a deal is reached or not. 


Currently, chilled and frozen semen shipments arriving into Britain from the EU are accompanied by a TRACES health certificate. TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) is a predominantly web-based system used by DEFRA, the APHA, and vets around the EU and Britain to monitor, notify and control the movements of live animals and animal products around the European Union, which includes germinal products such as semen, embryos, and oocytes.


Much of the concern around Brexit's effect on the breeding industry in Britain centres around our access to TRACES, and whether this will be maintained in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit. The current advice from DEFRA and the APHA is that, whatever happens in the coming months, TRACES will continue to be accepted as appropriate health certifications for at least the first six months after Brexit. If the UK loses access to TRACES after a no-deal exit, then importers of germinal products will need to manually notify the relevant authorities of the imports of chilled and frozen semen, while EU TRACES documents will continue to accompany chilled and frozen semen shipments coming from the EU. 


The UK government is in the process of setting up a new system known as IPAFFS (Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System), but this will not be ready to use for imports entering Britain from the EU and EEA until 'late Summer' 2019; until this time, TRACES will continue to be accepted. A new import notification form will be used in conjunction with TRACES, known as an IV66 form. The IV66 Import Notification Form is used to generate a Unique Notification Number (UNN) which will need to be written onto the TRACES certificate when semen is imported into Britain from the EU. Elite Stallions will continue to handle all of the paperwork required for semen importation, at no extra cost to you.


Of course, the turnaround for ordering chilled semen is very tight, and we know that any delays can compromise the viability of the semen and the mare's breeding cycle. We are working extremely closely with the APHA, DEFRA, and other industry leaders to ensure a smooth and efficient process is established to allow us to continue to import chilled semen within the necessary timescales. The APHA and DEFRA are aware of the unique challenges faced by importers of chilled semen, and we hope that this will be an opportunity to analyse to the current system and move forward towards an effective, safe, and easy process for the future.


What happens if semen is delayed?

We have imported thousands of straws of frozen semen, which is stored in the UK ready for same-day dispatch if required. Most of our stallions are available with frozen semen on chilled terms, which means that you can use frozen semen as an alternative to chilled if necessary and not pay any further fees.