Owners vets, passport issuing offices, auctioneers, dealers and enforcement agencies are all to be surveyed about the current passporting system.

Roly Owers of World Horse Welfare, a member of the industry group the Equine Welfare Sector Council, told H&H the group has compiled a list of questions, some generic, others tailored to specific groups, to go out later this week.

“We are not asking for recommendations for change, but we want to assess the understanding of passport regulations as a whole and how well people think they work,” he said.

“Most think the system is in disarray, so with this we will have hard evidence for Defra.”

He added there will be a short time frame, with no more than four weeks to complete the survey.

At the National Equine forum on 5 March, Secretary of State Owen Paterson agreed the passport system was “less than perfect”.

He added that he’d be pushing to make some changes within a few months.
“We will work together to introduce new quality standards for passports, making them more difficult to tamper with,” he confirmed.

Owners can complete the survey at: www.horsesurvey.co.uk/owners. Other groups will be contacted directly.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (21 March 2013)