There is still plenty of confusion about horse passports and the legislation is changing again at the beginning of 2016. Following the horse meat scandal, our government vowed to tighten up the rules to prevent it happening again. The requirement for foals to have an identification sketch done by a vet was removed when the legislation was last updated to include compulsory microchipping, but from January 2016, it will be mandatory for a sketch to be done once again.
From July 2016, the UK will be required to have a central database with records of all horse passports and microchip numbers. This will effectively be a replacement for the National Equine Database which closed in 2012 due to a lack of funds. The central database should make it easier to trace horse’s details when passports are lost.
It is still a legal requirement for all horses and ponies to have a valid passport issued by a registered Passport Issuing Authority. You could be prosecuted if you own a horse without a passport, transport a horse without a passport or even if you are the owner of a field or stables where unpassported horses are kept. Vets are required to check passports before administering or prescribing any medication. If you don’t intend your horse to ever go for human consumption, it’s a good idea to sign Section IX of their passport to confirm it. That means that we are able to prescribe a full range of medicines without the need to worry about restrictions, withdrawal periods and keeping a medicines record book. If your horse has ever been given a sachet of “bute”, the declaration in Section IX must be signed and the horse can never go for human consumption.