WHO NEEDS A PASSPORT?
All horses, donkeys, zebras and other exotic equines need to have a microchip and passport.
If you are the owner or main keeper of a horse it is your responsibility to ensure your horse has an up to date passport.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A PASSPORT?
Only the owner of the horse can apply for a passport.
WHY DOES MY HORSE NEED A PASSPORT?
Horse passports are important because they:-
Make sure that horses treated with medicines that could be harmful to humans never end up in the food chain
Prevent the sale of stolen horses by providing a means of identification of the horse and stating who it currently belongs to
WHEN MUST I SHOW MY HORSE’S PASSPORT?
You must make sure your horse’s passport is available for inspection at all times. You may be asked to show it by a trading standards inspector from your local council or an Animal Health Officer. This could happen at, for example, a horse show or road-side check.
You don’t need to have the passport on hand when the horse is:
in its stable or grazing in a field
being moved by foot
If you are asked for the horse’s passport during these times, you need to show it to the inspector within three hours.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE A PASSPORT. . .
You can’t move your horse
Vets will be limited in what medications they can give your horse (you need a passport for treatment with Bute!)
You cannot have your horse slaughtered for human consumption
You may be fined up to £5000
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A PASSPORT?
- Get an application form
There are several authorised Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) from which you can get an application form. Most PIOs are breed societies and may only issue passports for a certain breed, for a full list of authorised PIOs visit http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/horses/
- Complete the application
Once you have your application form you will need to have your vet visit your horse to implant a microchip and complete the silhouette description on the passport and sign it.
- Return application to PIO who will issue passport
Once your application form is complete return it to the PIO where you got it and they will issue your horse with a passport. You will receive your horse’s passport by post; this normally takes 5-15 working days.
Once issued the passport is valid for the life-time of your horse.
WHAT’S IN MY HORSE’S PASSPORT?
Your horse’s passport contains important information such as:-
Description of your horse
Any medications your horse has been given (unless your vet has signed section IX stating that your horse is not intended for human consumption and will therefore not enter the food chain.)
Unique Equine Life Number – this is a number given to your horse when its details are added to the National Equine Database (NED). If you would like to look up your horse’s details on NED please visit http://www.nedonline.co.uk/public/Home.aspx
BUYING AND SELLING A HORSE
If you are selling a horse, you must give the passport to the new owner with the horse.
If you are buying a horse you must make sure you get the horse’s passport and then inform the PIO that issued the passport that you have taken ownership of the horse within 30 days.
NEVER buy or sell a horse without a passport. If you are sold a horse without a passport, contact the local trading standards office, who may wish to prosecute the seller.
All foals must be micro-chipped and have a passport. This must be done by the time they are 6 months old or by the 31st December in their year of birth, whichever comes first.
If you wish to sell your foal or move it without its dam it must be micro-chipped and have a passport before doing so.
WHAT IF I HAVE AN OLDER HORSE WITHOUT A PASSPORT?
If your horse is over 6 months old but has never had a passport then it will need to be micro-chipped and get a passport. (See how do I apply for a passport?)
UPDATING YOUR HORSE’S PASSPORT
You should update your horse’s passport if you change any of your details (e.g. you move house). You can do this by contacting the PIO that issued the passport.
WHAT IF I LOSE MY HORSE’S PASSPORT?
You can get a duplicate or replacement passport by contacting the PIO that issued the original passport.
By law, every replacement or duplicate passport will have section IX completed stating that the horse is ‘not intended for human consumption’ and the horse will never be allowed into the food chain.
WHAT IF MY HORSE DIES?
If your horse dies, you must return its passport to the PIO that issued it within 30 days.
WHAT IS SECTION IX?
Section IX is the part of your horse’s passport which states whether the horse is ‘intended for human consumption’ or ‘not intended for human consumption’.
Medications such as ‘bute’ are not safe to enter the human food chain and other medications have a withdrawal period before the animal can enter the food chain.
Your vet will need to check this section before giving your horse medication and if it says the horse is intended for human consumption there will be a limited number of drugs your vet can use and any drugs given must be entered into the passport.
If you are happy for your horse to never enter the food chain your vet can fill out section IX stating that the horse is not intended for human consumption and medications then no longer have to be entered in the passport.
Direct Gov public services – information
Horse passport agency
DEFRA – Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) in the UK
PIOs in Europe
Importing/Exporting passport requirements
National Equine Database (NED)