Farmkey, the freeze-marking company, has been granted Passport Issuing
Organisation status after months of negotiations. The firm first applied to DEFRA to become a PIO last August.
Peter Mills, resources director of Farmkey, is currently in talks with DEFRA regarding the use of its freeze-marks to back up self-certified passports until the 30 June deadline.
After 31 January, owners may only complete the silhouette themselves if the horse is microchipped. If silhouettes could also be self-certified for freeze-marked horses, thousands of owners would save money.
Peter Mills explains: “I was quite reassured by meeting Alison Reeves from DEFRA. She can see the logic behind it for ourselves and our members. She is going to talk to Alun Michael, who will give the idea consideration and give us an indication fairly shortly.
“Alison was also very interested in our plan to train technicians to be
‘competent authorities’, to enable them to draw the silhouettes.”
There are currently no guidelines as to what qualifications or training a “competent authority” needs; although if a PIO accepts a passport with a silhouette that is not completed competently, it could have its status withdrawn.
There are several companies in Britain which freeze-mark horses, and Farmkey has marked almost 200,000 in its 25 years in the business.