Which horses need a horse passport?

Horses, ponies, donkeys and related animals (including zoo species like zebras) must have a horse passport.

What is a horse passport?
The passport is a small booklet or smart card that:

  • identifies your animal by its height and species
  • states if your animal can be used for human food when it dies

Do I need a horse passport if my horse doesn’t go abroad or to competitions?
Yes - new Horse Passport Regulations came into force on the 1st October 2018 meaning all horses must have a passport and microchip by 1st October 2020.

Why is a horse passport necessary? Whilst equine passports are a handy memory-jogger for your horse's vaccinations – there is a much wider health reason behind their introduction. It is part of an important strategy to manage the human and animal food chains. You must keep a valid horse passport with your animal at all times. This includes at their stable or when you move them. You will need to provide your horse’s passport: when a vet examines or treats your animal - the medication your animal can get depends on how it’s categorised on its passport if an animal health inspector, trading standards inspector or other enforcement officer asks to see it when you sell or give the animal to someone else

What is the ‘not for human consumption’ declaration or medicinal treatment section for?
Many of the drugs used for horses cannot be used in farm animals that go into the meat industry for humans to eat. Within the passport, the owner must declare in Section IX whether the horse is intended for human consumption or not. Signing Part II of Section IX will declare the horse IS NOT intended for human consumption, thereby allowing the horse to be treated with certain restricted drugs (such as phenylbutazone or ‘bute’). All clients of the RVC practice should have the ‘not for human consumption’ declaration signed in your horse’s passport which means your horse can never be used for meat products for humans. Your vet will check this the first time they see your horse, please bring your passport to your first appointment.

When do I need to get an equine passport? Foals must have an equine passport before they are twelve months old.

I have a horse without a passport, what should I do?
Apply for a new horse passport as soon as possible. You can ask for an application form from Passport Issuing Organisations which include the stud books.
The full list can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/horse-passport-issuing-organisations
Book an appointment with your equine vet to complete the horse passport application. Your vet will check if your horse already has a microchip at the time of completing the identification and will record the number on the new passport application or will put one in if there is no microchip in place.

How much is an equine passport appointment? The price to book an RVC equine practice vet for a passport application is £20.00 inc VAT plus visit fee. The price to book an RVC equine practice vet for a microchip is £27.00 inc VAT plus visit fee.

Are there any exemptions from the equine passport requirement? There is a special exception for semi-wild ponies in Dartmoor, Exmoor, the New Forest or Wicken Fen which only need a passport if they are under your control (for example if they wear a saddle or are on a farm).

Where can I find out more about horse passports?
More information is available online at https://www.gov.uk/horse-passport

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