British Dressage has voted to reject the BEF’s proposal for horse passports

The board of British Dressage has unanimously rejected the proposal of the British Equestrian Federation to continue to press parliament for compulsory passports for horses.

David Holmes, chief executive of British Dressage, said: “The board does not feel that the imposition of compulsory passports is an issue to be dictated by governing bodies. Any decision should be made on an informed basis, and there has not been sufficient debate on the subject. Those affected are not aware of the pros and cons.”

EU legislation dictates that all horses kept in Europe should have passports, although the EU allows member states to interpret its laws to suit local needs.

The EU’s main objective for the introduction of horse passports is to prevent animals which have been treated with certain veterinary medicines from entering the human food chain.

Michael Clayton, board member of the British Horse Industry Confederation which is the horse industry’s link with government, said: “The British Equestrian Federation board has confirmed its support for issuing passports to all UK equines since the subject was raised by British Dressage.

“Last autumn, the BEF responded positively to the government on the subject of passports, which was at the time approved by all member bodies of the federation. The BEF believes that there would be major advantagesin welfare and breeding from overall registration of equines.

“It is likely that registration will eventually become compulsory by law. It would be far better to undertake this as voluntary self-regulation.

“Those who complain that a one-off payment of say £20 per animal is far too expensive for horse owners should compare this with the cost of keeping any horse or pony at even a basic acceptable level in welfare terms.”

See this week’s Horse & Hound (25 October) for full story including views from top riders, breeders and trainers.

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