The UK Horse World Prepares for Brexit

Leaders in equestrian sport, vets and government have been working closely to prepare plans for the UK leaving the EU

Although the outcomes of Parliamentary negotiations surrounding Brexit remain uncertain, the horse world has been working closely together to understand the implications for horse owners when the UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019.

Leaders from a number of organisations from horse sport, racing, vets, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) have been developing plans for what needs to be done in case the UK leaves with no deal.

The chief concern for horse owners will be transportation. Our focus has been on the following areas:

  • All horses leaving the UK to enter the EU will need a new type of Export Health Certificate (EHC) which would require blood tests signed off by an Official Veterinarian (OV) to confirm it is free from disease. EHCs would last 10 days and would accompany the horse and its horse passport. Requirements for movements to the rest of the world remain largely unchanged.
  • Developing a new type of Equine Travel ID Document. This would be needed, as well as a horse passport, for horses which do not have studbook passports or are not registered with an international body which governs sport or racing (such as the FEI)
  • Given increased demand, ensuring there will be enough Official Veterinarians and other experts and specialists, to carry out health inspections, blood tests and produce EHCs
  • Submitting evidence to the EU about the UK’s health status so that the UK can be granted a Third Country status/category. This will determine the extent of the blood tests required by horses before moving
  • The effect on transport authorisations, certificates of competence and vehicle approval certificates
  • The extent of probable delays at channel crossing points (Channel Tunnel and ferry ports) and the need for more Border Inspection Posts both in the UK and the EU, because of requirements to check horse identity and health certificates
  • Tariffs on permanent horse movements
  • A system to take over from the EU’s movements recording database (TRACES) to enable the UK to keep its own horse movement records
  • Mutual recognition of EU and UK studbooks to preserve their registered horses’ ability to travel without the additional Equine Travel ID Document
  • Availability and recognition of veterinary medicines

British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Chief Executive Nick Fellows says; “The terms of the UK’s departure from the EU have not yet been confirmed but, given the serious implications for equestrian sport, we have been working closely with the relevant authorities. As soon as the situation becomes clearer the BEF will inform its members so that horse owners will be aware of actions they may need to take.”

Editor – Horse Racing Ireland, the national authority for thoroughbred horse racing in Ireland, estimates that each year there are 10,000 horse movements between the UK and Ireland, 7,000 horse movements overland between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, 5,100 between Ireland and France and 5,000 between the UK and France.  The current tripartite agreement (TPA) took effect in 2014 and is to expire in 2020. It fundamentally provides that no veterinarian controls or additional documentation are required while taking
race horses from one State to another.

For deeper understanding of the issue on the transportation of horses between England France and Ireland, please refer to this original article by Roberto A. Jacchia and Davide Scavuzzo.

Image by Vanessa Moreau-Sipiere