All horses, ponies and donkeys should have a passport to comply with the law.
Passports are important to prove identity when horses are being travelled, sold or competed. They also to prevent the sale of stolen horses and horses treated with certain medications from ending up in human food. All Passport Issuing Authorities (PIO’s) require a veterinary surgeon to complete an identification drawing and confirm the presence of a microchip, or implant one as necessary (see microchipping).
Passports…the legal part:
- Every horse, pony or donkey should have a passport.
- You can be fined up to £5000 if you don’t have passports for your animals.
- Foals must be microchipped and have passports before they reach 6 months old, or by 31 December in the year they were born, whichever is later.
- To apply for a passport, your horse must be microchipped by a veterinary surgeon.
- Passports must accompany horses whenever they travel, for whatever reason.
- It is illegal to sell a horse without an original passport, and a passport should accompany horses on loan.
- You should have the horse’s passport available whenever a vet attends to allow us to treat your horse with certain medications.
- Section nine in the passport can be signed if the horse is not intended for slaughter for human consumption. This section should be signed by the owner if you do not wish the horse to enter the human food chain upon its death. This is an irreversible decision, meaning your horse can never enter the human food chain once this section is signed. Our vets need to see this section of the passport to give treatment, otherwise there are severe restrictions on what can be prescribed.
- When an animal dies you must return the passport to the PIO to have it invalidated. They will return it if you request this.
For further information please see the DEFRA guidance on horse passports and PetID Equine’s FAQ’s.