Effective safety system and risk anticipation
Tighter controls for sperm doses and embryos

 Specially-geared veterinary health legislation

On top of the French national animal health control system, there are strengthened process-specific veterinary health measures governing the entire semen dose production process, from on-farm selection of future sires and donor stock through to semen freezing and the conservation of genetic material.

These measures are extremely well organized, and remarkably efficient. They converge to ensure guaranteed health and hygiene quality of all semen doses produced across the whole of France, all species included.

The control and management of veterinary health risks does not stop at stringent application of the protocols stipulated by regulatory programmes on animal diseases. It also integrates efforts to secure further protection guarantees on issues such as paratuberculosis or neosporosis for bull semen.

Armed with these competitive advantages, French genetics is able to meet the most exacting veterinary health specifications of global customers, and French bulls surely offer the best guarantees that can be found anywhere in the world.

 Stringent protocols

French veterinary health legislation on animal reproduction is calqued on the toughest European directives. It also meets the requirements set by the OIE [World Organization for Animal Health] Terrestrial Animal Health Code. Points defined by these standards and benchmark documents include:
-  the animal health control conditions governing animal entry and maintenance in semen collection centres;
-  the conditions governing accreditation and approvals for the agents (head veterinarians, embryo transfer teams) and facilities involved (quarantine stations, semen collection/semen storage centres);
-  health–hygiene and disinfection rules to scrupulously follow for semen preparation and storage.

All the veterinary health protocols are applied under constant surveillance co-led by the French national stud animals inspectorate [LNCR], head veterinarians, and officially-mandated veterinarian services.

These mandated veterinarian services run quarterly surveillance visits to accredited centres, and are therefore well placed to certify full compliance on all regulatory requirements. Certification signed and stamped by the veterinary services seals official guarantee of the sanitary quality of all every single semen export.

 Animal health inspections on-farm and then before entry to the collection centre

In order to be awarded the requisite animal health approval, young bulls earmarked as future semen donor stock must
-  come from a herd that is 100%-free of tuberculosis, brucellosis, or enzootic bovine leucosis;
-  be 100% IBR-free (ACERSA [veterinary health certification office] status A) and – like their dam – be inspected as the bull calf leaves for the semen production centre;
-  be born to a dam that lived completely free of any contagious disease for the whole 6 months leading up to the bull calf’s birth.

Before gaining entry to the semen production centre, these young bulls are sidelined at a quarantine station for at least 56-day isolation period during which they are put through several series of health control tests screening for the following diseases: tuberculosis, brucellosis, bovine leucosis, IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis), BVD (bovine viral diarrhoea), neosporosis and paratuberculosis.

The final series of tests is rounded off with:

  • a clinical examination of the internal and external reproductive system;
  • analysis of the biological and bacteriological quality of the semen (to guarantee zero reproductive system infection)
  • a dual control-check screening for sexually-transmitted venereal diseases (campylobacteriosis and trichomoniasis).

 Annual inspections on semen collection centres

Once a year, and with no more than a 12-month interval, all the bulls have to pass a series of regulatory health inspections screening for the following diseases: tuberculosis, brucellosis, bovine leucosis, IBR, BVD, campylobacteriosis, trichomoniasis, paratuberculosis, and bluetongue. The control-check protocols for bluetongue are readjustable and will integrate the health status of the animals (disease-free, vaccinated, immunized, etc.).

Elite bulls whose semen goes out for export to certain listed countries undergo a higher number of animal health inspections led at more regular intervals in order to meet these countries’ own particular requirements.

 The LNCR ― the French National Laboratory for Stud animals Control

The LNCR is the independent the French National Laboratory for Stud animals Control created back in 1952 by appointment of the Ministry for Agriculture veterinary services division, the national veterinary School―Alfort, and the French national union of AI cooperatives (UNCEIA).

The LNCR’s mission is to guarantee top-bill health status for all cattle, sheep and goat studs whose semen is marketed in France and abroad. The LNCR, under mandate from the French Ministry for Agriculture, has a permanent ongoing epidemiological surveillance mission extending to all stud animals, and runs continuous health risks analysis. Its scope of authority covers semen and embryos (in vivo or in vitro products).

Every year, the LNCR runs over 350,000 analyses in its various specialized areas of expertise: on-site sampling and clinical examinations, andrology, bacteriology, virology, blood immunology, and molecular biology.

Samples are taken by specialist technicians driving mobile lab vans across France all year round. Every site hosting sires gets inspected to a detailed timetable, enabling the technicians to meet the requirements governing annual frequency of animal examinations and veterinary checks.

This highly-efficient pioneering service enables samples to be collected and channelled to the lab under optimal conditions, thus ensuring the requisite reliability of analytical results.

 A comprehensive veterinary health record for each stud animal

The results of health control checks on every stud animal are then systematically recorded in the French national registry of veterinary health data on stud animal (BNDSR), which is hosted and managed by the LNCR.

This records system makes it possible to instantly check the veterinary health history of every single stud animal. The database of veterinary health is officially recognized by the French Ministry for Agriculture’s veterinary services division, and is directly accessible to département-level authorities tasked with the protection of local populations and by the head veterinarians in charge. It is a key tool enabling the LNCR to efficiently fulfil the permanent epidemiological surveillance mission is has been mandated with

 A cutting-edge semen traceability system

The dependable reliability of the animal health control system governing the French genetics sector also hinges on a traceability system capable of charting the path of a semen dose from production through to end-use.

Since 2004, all French semen production centres print each straw produced with a 10-digit barcode that identifies donor bull, day of collection, and intra-ejaculate batch number.

In 2007, 3 more digits were added making it possible to ID the semen production centre from within an international database. The official listing of all approved and accredited centres in Europe is managed by the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR).


Key figures

  • 1 French National Laboratory for Stud animals Control (LNCR)
  • 350 000 specific health analyses spécifiques
  • 50 600 embryos collected
  • 8 million animal inseminations
  • 2.5 million semen doses to the export market


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