FEI President: FEI Supports Animal Identification, Traceability

HRH Princess Haya, president of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), has assured the European Union (EU) of the FEI's support in promoting and improving standards in animal identification and traceability.

Speaking to top European veterinary officials attending the third European Veterinary Week (EVW) in Brussels June 14, the FEI president highlighted the need to create a clear distinction between the sport horse as an equine athlete and livestock that is part of the food chain.

Identification and traceability are hugely important to the equine industry, she noted, helping to minimize the risk of disease spread during the cross-border transportation of competition horses, and also enhancing integrity and promoting public confidence in the equestrian industry.

As an industry with an estimated annual turnover of around 30 billion Euro and, depending on the member state, the creation of one job per four to 10 animals, a disease outbreak would have a huge economic impact on horse sport. The horse is one of the most internationally moved animals on the planet, Princess Haya stated, emphasizing the FEI is very aware that the transportation of horses must take place safely, but with appropriate regard to risk. "Therefore, we support the EU health requirements and recording of movements, both within the EU and into the EU from third countries," she said.

She pointed out that the international equine athletes that compete under FEI rules are probably the most inspected and checked animals in the world, with more than 1,000 FEI veterinary officials working at events worldwide to ensure FEI rules on vaccination requirements, freedom from disease, and fitness to compete are adhered to.

The FEI president stressed that the equestrian industry recognized the need for identification documents some time ago and that the FEI was one of the first organizations to provide horse passports on a global scale. The FEI also contributed to the establishment of an identification system of Unique Equine Life Numbers--UELNs--for horses.

"As an industry and as an organization, we completely support the EU requirement for the now compulsory passports of all equines within the community and the introduction of mandatory microchipping," Princess Haya said.

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