If you are moving horses and other equines between the UK and other EU countries you must currently follow EU rules.
These require equines to travel with 2 documents which confirm fitness to travel and absence of disease: an ID document (passport) which also includes details of their health status; and either an Intra-Community Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) or a veterinary attestation, depending on the purpose of movement and type of equine.
Equines moving between EU countries do not need to do so via a Border Inspection Post.
Under a separate tripartite agreement, movements of certain types of horse between the UK, Ireland and France are streamlined further.
Movements between the UK and Ireland only require an ID document.
Movements between the UK and France require an ID document and commercial document (DOCOM), and an entry on the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES).
How processes would change
If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) without a deal, there would be immediate changes to the procedures that apply to equine movements.
The UK would be treated as a ‘third country’ and any movement of equines to countries within the EU would be subject to EU third country rules. The tripartite agreement would no longer be valid.
A horse or other equine would need an appropriate ID document and appropriate health documentation to travel.
ID document (passport)
Industry-issued equine passports would continue to be used in the UK to help maintain a robust national equine health and traceability regime. They would continue to be valid for EU travel for horses registered either on a studbook or pedigree register, or with a national branch of an international organisation for racing or competition.
All other equines travelling from the UK to the EU would have to travel with a new government-issued ID document. As an owner, you would need to apply to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in Great Britain or the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Veterinary Service in Northern Ireland, for a new government-issued ID document, unless your horse was already registered on a studbook or pedigree register or with a national branch of an international organisation for racing or competition.
As the UK would be a third country, you would need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) in order to move equines to the EU. The EU currently imposes additional requirements on third countries depending on perceived level of disease risk.
The UK currently has a low risk profile for disease, which we would expect to mean a less burdensome process for certification. However, you would need a vet to confirm the absence of equine disease, which could involve increased cost if additional blood tests are required. These are estimated to be between £200 and £500. You would need to apply to APHA (in Great Britain) or DAERA’s Veterinary Service (in Northern Ireland) for the new export certification required by the EU.
Equines travelling to the EU from the UK would have to pass through a Border Inspection Post in an EU country.
An Official Vet could deal with the veterinary elements of both of these in a single visit. The process is the same as that currently in place for Intra-Community Trade Animal Health Certificates (ITAHCs), so we do not anticipate that producing the required documents would take significantly longer. However, you would need to factor in time to complete any necessary blood tests.
To note, this process would require the UK to be a listed third country. In the unlikely event of a ‘no deal’ scenario, the UK would apply for this status but cannot be certain of the EU response, or its timing.
Without listed status, no equine movements to the EU could take place. We are confident that the UK meets the animal health requirements to secure listing, as other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, have done.
Actions you can take now
- Consider changes you may need to make to adapt to new processes and systems if there is no deal. This should include possible alterations to transport routes, leaving more time to plan and complete moves, and additional costs.
- Ensure you understand the difference between equines that will require a government-issued ID document to travel to the EU and those that will not, and explain this to your customers.
- The passport rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) without a deal. Read the government’s guidance on Travelling to the EU with a UK passport if there’s no Brexit deal and, if relevant, ensure your employees and customers are aware of the potential changes.
- Stay up-to-date with these changes by registering for email alerts. Follow the link, add your email address, select ‘Submit’, select ‘Add subscription’ and choose ‘EU Exit’ then select ‘Submit’.