Are there any horses who don’t need passports?
It is estimated that around 850000 horses and ponies live in the UK. The vast majority of these horses by law require a personalised unique identity document known as a horse passport. In this article we look at the reasons behind the passport scheme and which animals are included. As well as exploring which horses have been granted an exemption.
Table of contents
Why are horse passports needed?There are several benefits to the passport scheme. What happens if I dont have a passport for my horse?Are any horses exempt from the compulsory passport requirement?What happens if these exempt horses are sold or need veterinary treatment?Why do these exemptions exist?
Why are horse passports needed?
Passports are unique identity documents issued to all horses by six months of age or before the end of November in the year of their birth. The horse is identified by means of a hand drawn silhouette and by the recording of their microchip number which is inserted before the passport is issued.
One of the most important is to allow the recording of any drugs that have been given to that animal. This is necessary to ensure that any of the small number of horses who will be slaughtered for human consumption have not been treated with any drugs that may harm the health of humans. If a veterinary surgeon needs to administer a drug such as phenylbutazone commonly known as bute that is NOT licenced for use in food producing animals the vet must check that the owner has signed the passport to declare that the horse is not intended for human consumption. If the passport is unavailable to the veterinary surgeon at the time of treatment they must only use drugs that are intended for food producing animals as we are obliged to assume that the horse may enter the food chain.
Any horses that receive drugs that are not licenced for use in food producing animals must be excluded permanently from human consumption. Complying with this legislation helps us to reduce the risk of a ban in the use of many very commonly used veterinary drugs. Although we as a nation eat very little horsemeat horses are slaughtered in the UK for export of the meat or are exported for slaughter abroad.
Passports allow us to identify individual animals something that may be extremely important before sale