Horse passports are a legal requirement for all horses and ponies in the UK and unlike human passports, they are required even if a horse never leaves the paddock. In fact, they are more of a general identification device than a requirement for travel.
Within the EU, horsemeat is regularly consumed and therefore horse passports were originally introduced as an EU Directive to protect the human food chain. As a horse must never travel without their passport, even to slaughter, they are a means of ensuring that no horse that has been treated with certain medicines is slaughtered for human consumption.
The penalty fine for owners not able to produce a valid horse passport could be up to £5,000, so it is important that you make sure you are compliant.
When you need one
Under current legislation, all foals must have horse passports and microchips within six months of birth or before 31st December of their year of birth, whichever comes later.
A horse’s passport should accompany it at all times. It must be present when a horse is moved to a new home, sold, transported within the UK, transported out of the UK, used in competitions, used for breeding, given medication or vaccinations, sold or slaughtered.
There are some exceptions, e.g., when a horse is stabled, out to pasture or moved on foot, however even in these cases, the passport must be produced within three hours of the authorities asking for it.
Never buy a horse without a passport or you will be committing an offence! Also, when buying a horse, always make sure that you thoroughly check its passport to ensure that the horse’s description matches up.
Updating your horse passport
Whenever a horse is bought or moved to a new location, its passport must be updated. You can do this through the original Passport Issuing Agency that the document came from.
It is the buyer’s responsibility to update their new horse’s passport and this must be done within 30 days of purchase. This timeframe is the same for when a horse is moved to a new address and it is the responsibility of the owner to make this change.
Moving your horse with NRT
Whenever you need to move your horse, you will need not only the horse’s passport, but also other valid documentation ready to present at borders. Here at NRT International, we can advise you on exactly what documentation you require and how you can go about getting it. Once everything is in place, we will take care of all the official business required when crossing.
So if you are planning to move your horse, get in touch with NRT International today for full guidance and advice. Call us on 01638 663155 or click here.
If you would like to find out more about horse passports, visit the Government website here.