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Government issues new guidelines on the movement of horses and other equines in a no-deal scenario

22 February 2019, at 9:30a.m.

On 21 February, the Government issued new guidance for owners of horses, ponies and other equines detailing the preparations they need to make in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority. This has not changed. Defra are continuing with their no deal preparations to ensure the country is prepared for every eventuality.

The guidance will help owners to navigate the new processes for moving horses and other equine animals from the UK to EU member states. This will also apply to those owners that currently move their animals between the UK, Ireland and France under the Tripartite Agreement (TPA) – an agreement relied on by many in the horseracing industry and the competition sector.

If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March without a deal:

  • equines travelling from the UK to the EU may need to undergo additional blood tests, which will need to be carried out within 30 days or less of travelling to satisfy EU regulations
  • owners will need to consult with a vet at least six weeks before they are planning to travel
  • all equines will need an Export Health Certificate in order to travel to EU states, instead of current documents, and will need to enter the EU via a Border Inspection Post (BIP)
  • some equines will also need a Government issued travel ID document, as well as their existing equine passport

The UK has already committed to allowing continued movement on all equine animals from EU member states to support the industries that rely on these animals and ahead of major horseracing events, such as the Grand National Festival at Aintree.

The government is continuing to negotiate with the European Commission on securing listed status for the UK, which would enable the continued movement of equines to EU member states.

The guidance published today is designed to give the owners of horses and other equine animals as much time to prepare for these new processes and factor in any extra travel time they may require when travelling to and from the EU.

Animal Welfare Minister, David Rutley MP said:

“Delivering a negotiated deal with the EU remains the Government’s top priority, but it is our job to responsibly ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal.

“This guidance will help businesses and owners prepare for life after 29 March if we do leave without a deal. However, it is in the interest of the EU to reciprocate our commitment on the movement of horses. This will ensure horseracing and competition events across the continent can continue to be attended by all of Europe’s top equine talent.”

Julian Richmond Watson, Chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association, said:

“The British thoroughbred racing and breeding industry welcomes publication of this important guidance and will be communicating it to our participants to help them prepare for all potential Brexit negotiation outcomes.

“We fully support the Government’s welcome and pragmatic position to allow continued equine movement under current systems from EU member states to the UK in a No Deal scenario.”

Nick Fellows, Chief Executive of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) said:

“The BEF has worked closely with government and leading figures in equestrian sport to make sure that all horse owners have as much information as possible for when the UK leaves the European Union. It’s important to prepare for all eventualities and we’d urge all horse owners to take notice of the material provided by DEFRA.”

If the UK is not provided with listed status by the European Commission, no movements of equines from the UK to the EU will be possible after we leave the EU until listed status is secured.

Businesses that may be affected should read the latest guidance on equine movements.