Q. Why are passports required?
A. With effect from 30th June 2004, all horses and ponies (and other forms of equidae) must have a passport identifying the animal. From 1 July 2009 all foals and older horses not previously identified must be microchipped when a passport is applied for. Compulsory microchipping provides a permanent link between the horse and its passport. All late applications will be signed out of the human food chain.
The key objective of the legislation is to prevent horses entering the human food chain if they have been administered with any medicines that are not intended for use on food producing animals. This action is to satisfy the European Commission that the UK has a viable method of identifying horses that have been treated with medicines that must not be administered to food producing animals. Failure to provide such an assurance could result in the EC removing its approval of these veterinary medicines. There would be potential horse welfare issues if they were no longer available.
Q. What are the views of the equine industry and horse welfare organisations?
A. The equine industry believe that there are other benefits if all horses have a passport; for example, discouraging indiscriminate breeding. The National Equine Database (NED) maintains a record of every passported horse in the UK. A potential buyer will, in time, be able to check that the age, ownership details and identifying particulars of a horse for sale are correct, which may lead to a reduction in the sale of stolen horses.
Q. What would happen if I was found not to have a passport?
A. As with all Government legislation, there are penalties that can applied by the courts for non-compliance. You could face a fine of up to £5000.
Q. What other regulations are likely to affect me as a horse owner/keeper?
A. A horse may not be sold if the animal has not been issued with a passport (but please also note a passport is not proof of ownership).
It is an offence not to:
It is an offence to:
- Pass the passport to a new owner after a sale.
- Advise the Passport Issuing Office of a change of ownership within 30 days.
- Own or keep a horse that has not been issued with a passport.
- Fraudulently apply for duplicate or replacement passport.
- Move a horse (transport/to slaughter etc) without its passport-there are exceptions for emergencies.
- Destroy, deface or alter a passport or knowingly be in possession of a forged passport.
Q. When do I need to have the passport with me?
A. Your horse’s passport must accompany the horse at all times other than when stabled or our hacking.
Q. How long are passports valid for?
A. Passports are valid for the entire lifetime of the horse.
Q. How do I get a passport?
A. Apply to one of the organisations that have been authorised by Defra to issue horse passports. Some of these organisations deal with only one particular breed of horse; others will issue passports for all types of horses. The Pleasure Horse Society will issue passports to any non registered horse or horse of unknown breeding. A list of recognised societies that have been authorised to issue passports can be found on the National Equine Database (NED) website.
Q. What shall I do if the passport requires updating with change of address or new ownership details?
A. Changes of ownership or change of permanent address of owner should be notified to the organisation that has issued the passport within 30 days. The PIO may require that the passport be returned for updating. Similarly, the death of a horse should also be notified to the PIO. For Pleasure Horse Society passports please see the ‘Passport Changes’ section on this website.
Q. I have lost my passport, can I get a replacement?
A. PIOs are authorised to issue duplicates but the horse will be signed out of the human food chain by them when the replacement is issued.
Q. At what age will my foal require a passport?
A. Foals must have a passport within six months of age or by 31st December of the year of its birth, whichever is the later; the foal will need to be microchipped as part of the process
Q. Who can implant microchips?
A. Only veterinary surgeons can implant microchips.
Q. My horse is kept at livery, who should hold the passport?
A. It is necessary for the person who has day-to-day control of your horse to hold the passport as, for example, your veterinary surgeon will need to see the horse’s passport before he can administer certain drugs. You should remember to take the passport with you if you are travelling the horse.
Q. My horse is on loan, who should hold the passport?
A. Please see the previous question.
Q. My horse is kept at livery should the yard owner be registered as the keeper in the passport?
A. If the horse is on full livery and the yard therefore have day-to-day control of your horse including veterinary treatment,
yes they should be registered as keeper. For most DIY or part liveries this would not be the case.
Q My horse is on loan should the ‘loanee’ be registered as the keeper in the passport?
A. If this is a permanent loan arrangement and the ‘loanee’ has day-to-day control of your horse including veterinary treatment, yes they should.
Q. Will I need a passport if my horse is never intended for human consumption?
A. Yes, all horses will need a passport irrespective of whether or not the horse is ultimately intended for human consumption.
However, if the horse owner declares in the passport that the horse is not intended for human consumption, there will be no
requirement to record the date of administration of certain veterinary medicines to the horse.
Q. What is the purpose of section IX at the back of the passport?
A. Part II of Section IX is for the owner to declare if the horse is not ultimately intended for human consumption.
If the horse is ultimately intended for human consumption, the date that certain veterinary medicines are administered to the
horse will be recorded on the relevant pages by your veterinary surgeon.
More recent passports do not contain a specific section (section IX part III) for signing the horse into the human food chain.
On these passports until section II is signed then the horse is considered to be ultimately intended for human consumption.
Q. If I sell my horse, can its new owner change the declaration?
A. 1) No, not if the horse is declared as not for human consumption
Once a horse has been declared as not for human consumption in part II of section IX a subsequent owner cannot change this. This is in order to prevent animals entering the human food chain if they have been administered with medicines that have not been approved for food producing animals.
A. 2) Yes, if the horse has been declared as ultimately intended for human consumption one change (ie a change to ‘not fit for human consumption’ status) is permitted.
If the horse was originally ultimately intended for human consumption then this choice can be reversed by one subsequent owner by signing section II as there are no human health implications.
Q. Can a veterinary surgeon treat a horse that is not accompanied by its passport?
A. Yes. There is no suggestion that a vet should not treat a horse due to the absence of a passport. In an emergency if a passport is not available for the vet to check the human food chain ‘status’ then a substance suitable for food producing animals will be used.
From 1/8/09 – Vets are required to ask to see the passport before treating a horse. If substances unsuitable for entry into the human food chain have been administered, supplied or prescribed the owner must sign the declaration in part II of section IX. ‘Bute’ is one of the substances that may not be given to a food producing animal. Once a horse has been administered ‘bute’ it cannot enter the human food chain at any time in its life.
A vet must always record any vaccinations in Sect V & VI.
Q. What is the Unique Equine Life Number (UELN) that is included on the passports.
A. This is the number that must appear on the passport and which identifies the horse. All UK passports start with the number 826, the second 3 digits identify the original passport issuing organisation and the final six digits relate specifically to the horse.
Q. I am permanently importing a horse into the UK from another EU Member State?
A. Horses imported from other European Union Member States must be accompanied by a passport, which complies with the EU legislation.
Q. I am permanently importing a horse into the UK from a country outside of the EU – will I need to obtain a passport?
A. Yes. You will need to obtain a passport from one of the authorised PIOs in the UK within 30 days of the horse arriving in the UK.
Q. I am temporarily importing a horse into the UK from a country outside the EU – will I need to obtain a passport?
A. If your horse remains in the UK for less than 30 days, you will not be required to obtain a passport.