Horse PassportsHorse Passports (England) Regulations 2004 require all owners to obtain a passport for each horse they own. This includes ponies, donkeys, and other equidae but excludes zebras and other non domestic equidae. After 28 February 2005, owners will not be able to sell, buy, export, slaughter for human consumption, use for the purposes of competition or breeding a horse which does not have a passport. If they have not already done so, owners of animals born before 30 November 2003 should take action now to apply for a passport so that they will not be restricted in using their horse as they wish after 28 February 2005. Horses born after 30 November 2003 will require a passport by the 31st December in the year of birth or by 6 months of age, whichever is later. Owners already holding a passport should check to make sure it is fully compliant with the new legislation.
The introduction of the legislation will bring the UK in line with laws across the whole of the European Union, including the accession states. The legislation underpins a robust control system to ensure that horses which have been treated with veterinary medicines not authorised for use in food-producing animals cannot be slaughtered for human consumption. Moreover, it will contribute to allowing the UK horse industry to continue to use such medicines on horse not intended for the human food chain. Veterinary authorities have stressed the importance of this measure for horse welfare in the UK. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be introducing similar legislation.