Passports and microchips

2020 Identity Legislation

New legislation came into force in October 2018 regarding equine identification. The new legislation makes it a legal requirement for every horse, pony or donkey in the UK to not only have a valid UK passport but to also be microchipped. The identification details of every horse will be stored in a new Central Equine Database (CED).

The new legislation is being welcomed by the equine industry as it will give horses’ greater protection against theft, fraudulent sales and improve welfare. It is also hoped it will assist with the management of disease outbreaks, to allow mapping of horse populations and rapid communication with owners if required regarding a serious outbreak of infectious disease.

The Central Equine Database will log the details of all domesticated horses. Changes in ownership status of a horse will also be updated to the Central Equine Database by the Passport Issuing Body (PIB) who will do so within 24hours of being informed of any changes. It will also offer a much more streamlined solution for local authorities and police. The aim is to enable authorities to reunite owners with horses who have strayed or escaped fields more effectively, as well as find those irresponsible horse owners who abandon or mistreat animals and bring them to justice more swiftly.

From 2009, passport legislation came in that all foals must be microchipped when applying for a passport. Before this date, however, there will be horses which have not had microchips implanted due to it not being a legal requirement at the time so there are a lot of horse’s which this will affect. Those owners with horses born before this date have until October 2020 to ensure they comply with this new legal requirement.

To assist owners with older horse’s requiring microchips, Bell Equine are offering a reduced rate for supplying and implanting a microchip if we are already on the yard seeing the horse for another service e.g. for a vaccination, dental check or a lameness exam. Do please ask any of our vets when they attend your horse to scan for a microchip if you are unsure whether your horse has one implanted. We can easily implant one at the time or the next time we attend your horse or yard.

There is a press release on the Government website with more about the new compulsory microchipping legislation which you can read HERE.

For any further information please contact any of our vets or reception team on 01622 813700.

Do I need a passport for my horse, pony or donkey?

The Horse Passport Regulations 2009 state that horses, ponies, donkeys and related animals (including Zebras!) must have a horse passport and you could get an unlimited fine if you cannot show a valid passport for an animal in your care when requested. This will not be enforced by your veterinary surgeon. Foals must have a passport (and microchip) by the age of 6 months or 31st December in the year of their birth whichever is later.

The passport must be kept with your animal at all times. You need to provide your horse’s passport when a vet examines or treats your animal (either at your yard or at Bell Equine) and when you sell, or give the animal, to someone else.

If you buy a horse you should contact the passport issuing organisation (PIO) within 30 days. When your horse dies, the passport should be returned to the PIO within 30 days.

How do I get a passport for my horse, pony or donkey?

If you do not have any passport at all, we can organise for one to be issued. If you have a pure-bred horse and would like a breed society passport (for example the Shetland Pony Society), you can contact the society directly to obtain a passport application form. We can then complete the form and implant a microchip at your convenience for £84 plus any visit fee.

Alternatively we can supply PetId passports (which includes an identifying microchip with a full identification silhouette) from £116.50 plus any visit fee.

Please call the office on 01622 813700 if you would like more information.

How do I know if my equine passport fulfills the passport regulations?

All horse passports must have a section that confirms whether or not the horse is intended (or not intended) to enter the human food chain. Some older passports do not have these pages and if this section is not present you will need to go back to the PIO that produced that passport and ask for the section to be included.

Should I sign Section IX in my equine passport?

We RECOMMEND that you sign to say that your horse is NOT going for slaughter for human consumption. This allows administration of certain restricted medications, including phenylbutazone (“bute”, which includes Equipalazone and Danilon) and also other drugs (such as Prascend) without complicated record keeping and restrictions.

If a horse is prescribed any of these restricted medications, then it MUST be signed out of the human food chain. Your vet will be able to advise you further.

We would ask everyone to have the passport available for the Bell Equine team to check when we visit or if you bring your horse, pony or donkey to the hospital. For this reason it is best kept by the keeper of the horse at the stable yard, if possible to do so. Many people also keep a copy elsewhere.

Will a passport prevent my horse being slaughtered for meat?

Once a horse passport is signed out of the food chain it can never be changed and provided that passport stays with the horse then that animal can never be slaughtered for meat. Microchips are now required when a new horse passport is issued which are used to double-check the identity of the horse against the passport.

If you would like all your horses’ passport information to be recorded, so we have it available in case of emergency, or if you have any questions, please contact us on 01622 813700.

Passport summary

There is still an enormous amount of confusion concerning the Passport legislation which came into force in February 2009. Under this legislation:

  • Every horse and pony MUST have a passport issued by an approved Passport Issuing Organisation, vaccination cards are no longer acceptable.
  • All horses applying for new passports must be microchipped; this includes foals and older horses that do not already have a passport. Microchips can only be inserted by a vet.
  • Horses may not be sold without a passport and after a sale, the purchaser has 30 days to notify the authority issuing the passport of the change of ownership.
  • Foals must have a passport and microchip by the age of 6months, or by 31st December in the year of their birth.
  • When being transported, horses should have their passports with them at all times (with a few exceptions such as an emergency situation) and at other times the passport should be available on request within 3 days.
  • This passport MUST contain the declaration concerning whether or not the horse is intended for human consumption. Many older passports do not contain these pages and must be returned to the issuing organisation to have them inserted.
  • If the declaration is signed to say that the horse is not intended for human consumption then that animal can be treated with any medicine necessary and no further authorising paperworks needs to be issued.
  • If the declaration is unsigned OR the horse IS declared as intended for human consumption then there are many medicines that MUST NOT be given to that horse (including ACP and phenylbutazone ‘bute’). A horse without a passport must be treated as though it is intended for human consumption.
  • The passport MUST be made available to the vet at the time of examination and treatment so that the declaration can be checked before medicines are administered.

We strongly recommend that all our clients sign the Section IX (or Section 2 in newer passports) declaration that their horse or pony ‘IS NOT INTENDED FOR SLAUGHTER FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION’. WE CANNOT LEGALLY SUPPLY OR ADMINISTER MANY MEDICINES IF THIS DECLARATION IS LEFT UNSIGNED.

We are seeing many passports which do not have the declaration signed even though the owners believe them to be in order, so please check ALL your horse’s passports.

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