CLARIFICATION on how to update Irish-bred horses’ passports following Brexit has now been provided after months of confusion – but owners will still face difficulty obtaining a duplicate passport.
Before Brexit, owners of horses bred in Ireland but living in the UK could send their passports to Irish passport-issuing organisations (PIOs) for updates such as ownership and name changes – as well as upgrading identification documents to a studbook passport. But this came to a halt this year as the European Breeding Regulation no longer applies in the UK since it departed the EU.
Much confusion and frustration has arisen with owners who have been unable to update their horses’ passports, and in early May a Defra spokesman told H&H that Defra and Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) had been working together to provide guidance on the situation – and this would be available “shortly”.
On 10 June Defra and DAFM issued joint guidance confirming that all Republic of Ireland PIOs can still process “certain” updates for passports they had issued. These include change of ownership, microchip details, changes to name and food-chain status. Defra also confirmed to H&H that UK PIOs may also process these updates “if necessary”.
A DAFM spokesman told H&H the guidance was drafted to address “uncertainties” experienced following Britain’s exit from the EU and the purpose is to establish processes to ensure the most up-to-date identification data relating to these equines is recorded on both the Irish and UK central equine databases, so “protecting the integrity of the food chain” in both jurisdictions.
But under the new guidance, only Republic of Ireland PIOs whose studbooks have been granted an extension of breeding territory from Defra under post-Brexit requirements (news, 8 April 2021) can issue new, duplicate or reissue passports to Irish-bred horses living in the UK – even if the original passport was issued by that PIO. The only Irish programme that has a UK-approved EU extended breeding programme is the Kerry Bog Pony Cooperative Society.
A Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) spokesman said studbooks operated by HSI were “declined” extension of breeding territory from Defra on the basis that equivalent breeding programmes are in operation in Great Britain. This means HSI cannot issue passports in the UK, but can continue to provide services including changes of ownership, name changes, and insertion of vaccination pages.
“The reduction in permitted HSI passporting services to Great Britain is extremely regrettable and disappointing for the Irish sport horse industry,” said the spokesman. “These changes are a direct result of Brexit and the fact that Great Britain now operates outside the EU legislative framework and within domestic legislation.”
H&H has contacted Defra, DAFM and HSI to confirm where UK owners can obtain duplicate HSI passports going forward.
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