Since 28th February 2005, owners have not been able to sell, buy, export, slaughter for human consumption, compete with or breed with any animal without a valid passport. This was set out in the Horse Passports (England) Regulations 2004 making it compulsory for an owner to have a passport for any horse they own, including ponies and donkeys.
A list of passport issuing authorities can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/horse-passport-issuing-organisations
If your horse does not have passport, you should apply for one now so as to comply with the law. All horses and ponies born now must have a passport either by the time they are 6 months of age or before the 31st December of the year in which they were born, whichever comes later.
This law has brought England in line with the rest of the EU and has been put in place to prevent horses which have been treated with veterinary medicines, not authorised for food producing animals, being slaughtered for human consumption.
When a vet treats your animal, they must satisfy themselves that the animal in front of them corresponds to the one in the passport and will then check the declaration at Section IX of the passport regarding whether the horse is for human consumption.
If the passport has not been signed in section IX or the horse IS intended for human consumption, certain drugs will have to be recorded by the vet. If the passport is unavailable, the drugs administered should be put in writing elsewhere.
If the declaration has been signed stating that the horse IS NOT intended for human consumption, no drugs have to be recorded in the passport. Vaccinations will be recorded in the usual way.
You can appreciate that it is far easier for all concerned if your horse is considered not intended for human consumption.
When a horse is sold, the owner must transfer the passport over. The new owner then has 30 days to fill in the change of ownership details and inform the passport issuing authority. After a horse has died, the passport must be returned to the passport issuing authority within 30 days. Similarly, an owner has 30 days to apply for a replacement for any lost or damaged passport.
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