United Kingdom Seeks Changes to European Equine Identification Proposal

Following consultation with the horse industry about a proposed European Union Regulation on the identification of equidae (horses, donkeys, etc.), the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) is giving its comments to the European Commission.

The United Kingdom's main points are:

  • It does not support the statutory microchipping of all foals. As only a very small number of animals in the United Kingdom enter the human food chain, this requirement is out of proportion to the perceived problem and would put an unnecessary legislative burden on the vast majority of horse owners;
  • The implementation date for the regulation coming into force (which is currently January 1, 2007) should be put back to January 1, 2010;
  • Microchips should not have to be recovered from all dead horses, only those that go into the human food chain;
  • There should be provision for alternative methods of identification such as branding; and
  • The United Kingdom supports the proposal that foals under 12 months of age can be sent to slaughter without the need for a passport.

Further discussions are expected in Brussels this fall.

Further details about horse passports can be obtained from the Defra Web site: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tracing/horses/horses_index.htm.   

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