Horse Passport Regulation

Last week we wrote commenting on the horse welfare crisis in this country and HRH Princess Anne’s reference to horsemeat, specifically the unlikelihood that anyone breeding horses for the meat trade would hold a Horse Passport.  This comment has led to our latest blog.

Did you know that all horses are required to carry a passport, by law, or the owners risk a fine of £5,000?  At Remus Horse Sanctuary, we along with many of the national animal welfare charities are now calling for passports to be enforced by local authorities.  At present, many people do not have passports for their equines despite the law being quite clear on the requirements.

What is the legal requirement?

The Government website Gov.uk states:

All horses, ponies and donkeys must have a horse passport.

The passport helps:

·         Make sure horses treated with certain medicines don’t end up as food for people.

·         Prevent the sale of a stolen horse, pony or donkey, as the passport proves its identity.

The animal’s rider or keeper must have the passport with them at all times when they’re with the animal, unless it’s in a stable, grazing in a field, or being moved by foot.  Owners can take their animals for short rides without one.

You (or the animal’s main keeper) may have to show the passport to a Trading Standards inspector or an animal health officer.

You can be fined up to £5,000 if you don’t have a valid horse passport.

Is the Passport required just for horses?

Good point, for the purpose of the Horse Passports Regulations 2009, the term ‘horse’ means  “wild, exotic or domesticated solipeds from within the genus Equus of the family Equidae and their crosses”  for example a horse, donkey, mule, hinny (jennet), zebra, Przewalski (or Dzungarian).

What’s the fuss?

Identification is critical!  As the Gov.uk website mentions above, the issuing and use of a passport ensures health and safety for people, a particular consideration during the horsemeat scandal last year, and alongside microchipping will help reduce theft.

We see an awful lot of people who don’t have passports for their horses or donkeys – mainly due to ignorance – and many who don’t realise that when they buy a horse they should have the passport re-registered in their name.

If you have a horse, you should also sign section IX to declare that you don’t want it to go into the food chain upon its death.

And, of course, it’s most unfair that those of us who do abide by the law, get hit with the cost of vet bills, microchips and passports whilst others openly flout it!

For more information on horse welfare, please visit our web page here.

We are happy to offer advice to anyone who is unsure what to do or how to proceed.  You can also download our comprehensive guide here.

Equally, you can contact DEFRA for advice by email at: defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk or by telephone: 08459 33 55 77.

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