Interbull Centre: European Union Reference Laboratory for Zootechnics (Bovine Breeding)
The European Union Reference Laboratories (EURL's) with scientific and technical expertise within the areas of animal health, public health and zootechnics have been designated in different Community Decisions, Directives and Regulations. The Council Directives contain provisions that specify the functions and duties of each designated EURL.
In the area of zootechnics the Directorate General for Health and Consumers (SANCO) has designated a reference body responsible for collaborating in rendering uniform the testing methods and the assessment of the results for pure-bred breeding animals of the bovine species, the Interbull Centre.
The duties of the European Union Reference Laboratory for Zootechnics (EURLZ) are as follows (Official Journal L 192 , 02/08/1996 P. 0019 - 0020):
1. to be the documentation and information centre for the methods of testing and assessing the genetic value of pure-bred breeding animals of the bovine species for the Member States of the European Union as laid down in Decision 86/130/EEC (1). This duty will be accomplished by:
- regularly receiving the results of genetic assessments and the data on which they were based,
- comparing the various methods of testing and assessing the genetic value of pure-bred breeding animals of the bovine species;
2. at the request of the Member States of the Commission:
(a) to provide assistance in order to contribute to the harmonization of the various methods of testing and assessing the genetic value of pure-bred breeding animals of the bovine species, in particular by recommending the calculation methods to be used;
(b) to provide assistance in order to permit the comparison of the results of the methods of testing and assessing the genetic value of animals in the various Member States, in particular by:
- developing control protocols, to enable assessments to be made in the various Member States so as to improve the relevance of results and the effectiveness of selection programmes,
- carrying out an international assessment of livestock on the basis of the genetic assessments made in the various Member States,
- disseminating the individual results of the international assessments,
- publishing the conversion formulae and all related genetic work;
(c) to help the bodies referred to in point I of the Annex to Decision 86/130/EEC to take part in a comparison of the results of the assessment of genetic value at international level;
(d) to evaluate the problems of assessing pure-bred breeding animals and attempt to resolve the problems linked to the genetic assessments carried out in the various Member States.
In 2009, all EURLs were submitted to an external evaluation contracted by DG SANCO, and the final report presented a highly positive evaluation of the services provided by the Interbull Centre.