A studbook society has had its authority to issue passports revoked by the Scottish government in what appears to be the first case of this kind, following complaints that it was not operating efficiently.

The revocation against the Fjord Horse Stud Book Society (FHSS), also known as the Fjord Horse Registry of Scotland, came into force on Friday 29 February.

The Scottish government received a number of complaints regarding passport applications that were not being processed and declared that the FHSS “no longer meets the criteria”.

A spokesman for the Scottish government said: “We made every effort to contact the society, but with no response, and we were left with no alternative than to conclude that it was not operating efficiently.

“This is placing horse owners in considerable difficulty and, possibly, in breach of the Horse Passports (Scotland) Regulations 2005.”

From 29 February, all passports issued by the FHSS will become invalid and owners must reapply for a new one. This will affect approximately 60 horses.

FHSS chairman David Stewart said: “We will remain as a breed society — we just won’t issue passports anymore. We are sad about it, but issuing passports is labour intensive and we are a small organisation.”

The FHSS was established in 1997 as a breakaway group from the Fjord Horse National Stud Book Association of Great Britain — which is, and remains, authorised by Defra to issue passports to its members’ 450 Fjord horses.

Its chairman John Goddard-Fenwick said his studbook is happy to issue passports to FHSS members.

www.fjord-horse.co.uk