Welfare of horses: horse passports

It is a legal requirement for all horses and ponies (and other forms of equidae) in Northern Ireland to have a passport identifying the animal.

Horse passports

All foals born after 1 July 2009 and older horses not previously identified must be microchipped by a vet and the number inserted into the passport. For foals, all applications must be submitted by the end of the year of their birth or within six months of birth, whichever is later.

The passport must accompany the horse during all movements with a few exceptions most notably when moved on foot or in an emergency situation. Owners and keepers with primary responsibility for the horse (for example full livery yards or transporters) must make sure that the horse is correctly identified before accepting the animal into their care and make the passport available for inspection.

One of the purposes of horse passports is to record all medicines that each horse receives. It is therefore essential that the passport is available whenever a vet treats your horse so they can record the medicines given.

Medicines not permitted for the human food chain

If a horse is administered medicines not permitted for the human food chain, your vet must make sure that section IX (which states that the animal is not intended for slaughter for human consumption) has been signed by the owner/the owner’s representative or the keeper.

This means that the horse can never enter the human food chain so you should think very carefully about what the implications of such a decision would mean at the end of your horse’s life. You should discuss this matter with your vet if you have any questions or concerns.

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