By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Minister Smith to introduce New Legislation on Horse Passports

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, has announced that his Department is finalising a Statutory Instrument to transpose EU Regulation 504/2008 on the identification of horses into Irish law.

Under this legislation all horses must have an identification micro-chip inserted and a valid passport issued from an approved stud-book or horse passport issuing agency.  The Department has engaged in consultation with industry representatives over the past number of months concerning the effective implementation of this Regulation.

The Minister acknowledged the "constructive engagement and input from the various representatives" and in light of these consultations has now agreed that the Department provide for the registration process to be completed by 31st December of the year of birth of the animal, or 6 months, whichever date occurs later. The Minister however went on to state that notwithstanding his general acceptance of this point, his Department would engage further with the industry with regard to the sale of weaned foals, and in particular the benefits and the necessity for these to be identified prior to sale.

In addition, Minister Smith also indicated that he was about to embark on consultation with the industry on two other related matters. The first concerns a basic requirement in addressing any exotic animal health concern, to have an official register of premises on which animals are kept. "Such registers are already in place in respect of all other farm animal species in Ireland but currently no such register exists for horses", according to the Minister.

The second matter relates to the development of a system to notify and record the movement and transfer of ownership from one person responsible for the health and welfare of an equine animal to another where the animal is transferred on a permanent basis. The current system is limited to maintaining records at the time the passport is first issued which means that any investigation of an animal health or welfare nature relating to an equine animal may necessitate manual forward tracing from the time of first registration. The Minister said that "this is a particular concern in ensuring and protecting the health and welfare of horses given their relative longevity and potential for multiple transfer of ownership".

The Minister said that he looks forward to positive engagement by the industry to these proposals which are designed to offer better protection to the animals and to the industry ensuring robust systems are in place to address any animal health and welfare concerns. These developments will be central to the continued success and international reputation of the Irish equine industry.

Date Released: 29 June 2010