The Spotted Horse and Pony Society (SHAPS) has had its authority to issue passports revoked by Defra.
Defra has confirmed that the society, based in Barlow, Derbyshire, “no longer meets the criteria for recognition of organisations or associations which maintain or establish studbooks”.
From 12 May SHAPS is no longer a Defra-approved passport issuing organisation (PIO).
An independent audit commissioned in October 2007 identified that passport applications were not being turned round within reasonable timescales and that SHAPS was virtually unreachable by government organisations and horse owners.
Despite being notified on several occasions by the government department, SHAPS made no attempt to rectify the issues.
H&H repeatedly tried to contact SHAPS, but received no response.
A Defra spokesman said: “This is the first time we have withdrawn passport-issuing rights from a society. SHAPS can continue to run as a society but it will not be an approved PIO.”
But passports already issued are still valid and the British Spotted Pony Society (BSpPS) confirmed it will maintain any existing SHAPS passports.
BSpPS registrar Zena Jackson told H&H: “We have agreed to manage the passports and issue new ones as necessary. SHAPS passports will still be fine so people should not worry.
“We can also make transfers to the BSpPS for £5 if required, and will issue any new passports needed. We will also be keeping a list of all the horses and ponies to make sure everything runs smoothly and is kept up to date.”
From 12 May, BSpPs is issuing passports for spotted horses — which they have not done before — to ensure all members of SHAPS remain fully passported.
This is the second society this year to have its passport issuing rights terminated.
In February, the Fjord Horse Stud Book Society, also known as the Fjord Horse Registry of Scotland, had its authority revoked by the Scottish government (news, 28 February) on similar grounds — that passport applications were not being processed and that it was difficult to contact.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (15 May, ’08). Be among the first to read H&H’s exclusive news by picking up your copy of the magazine every Thursday.