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British owners of imported horses must send passports for registration

As new equine microchip and passport deadlines loom, owners are reminded of the requirements for those horses who do not hold UK passports.

H&H reported last week that as part of government efforts to tackle horse theft and improve traceability, biosecurity and welfare, all equines in England must be microchipped by 1 October and by 12 February 2021 in Wales. In Scotland, the deadline is 28 March 2021.

But for equines who have been imported from EU countries (including Ireland) and do not have British passports, an extra step is required in order for their details to be uploaded to the Central Equine Database (CED).

Defra guidance states horses who have arrived in the UK should be registered with a UK passport-issuing organisation (PIO) within 30 days. This will ensure the CED is updated and the relevant non-UK PIO is alerted of the change of record. If the horse is based in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, the passport will be overstamped, but for horses kept in Scotland the details will be recorded on the ScotEquine database and the CED.

There are a number of UK PIOs, including those that manage breed studbooks, including international breed societies that have representation in the UK such as the British Hanoverian Society. There are also PIOs that do not manage studbooks but are authorised to issue passports, such as the British Horse Society. The full list of the UK PIOs can be found here.

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World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers told H&H the CED has the potential to be an “invaluable” one-stop shop for verifying the identity of a horse.

“But, as ever, to be able to fulfil this vital function, the information on the system needs to be correct,” he said.

Anyone who has bought a horse is also reminded it is their responsibility to change the ownership in the passport with the relevant PIO within 30 days, or face penalties.

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