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Equine passports

horses in field

Each and every Horse, Pony, Donkey and Mule etc in the UK should have an Equine Passport to comply with European legislation. Passports can be obtained from one of over 50 DEFRA authorised passport issuing Societies or associations in the UK. These include Equine Breed Societies that have been recognised under commission decision 92/353/EC and International Organisations that manage horses for competitions or racing.

Each horse is issued with a unique 15-digit unique equine life number (UELN). Passports record the following information: record of ownership, identification (including microchip number when present), full medical history (including vaccinations), whether the horse can be used for human consumption, travel history and societies with which the horse is registered.

There is considerable variation in the cost of passports, as some societies require membership before they will issue the document.

It is the responsibility of the horse's owner to acquire a passport for their horse(s). The passport remains valid for the whole lifetime of the animal and is returned after its death.

Under EU law all horses are classified as ‘animals for human consumption’ so strict rules and regulations exist to prevent pharmaceutical residues from entering the human food chain.

Owners have to declare in section IX of the Passport, whether a horse is intended for human consumption or not. Certain drugs which are not licensed for use in animals not intended for human consumption, such as phenylbutazone, can only be used if this section is completed. Completing this section bars it from entering the food chain, this decision cannot be changed. If a passport is lost, a duplicate is issued and the horse is automatically catigorised ‘as not intended for human consumption’. Without these controls many (possibly 70%) of the drugs that we currently use to treat horses would be unavailable for use.

Without a valid Equine Passport it is illegal to sell or move your horse to a new keeper, to export your horse, to transport or use it in competition or for breeding. There is a hefty fine for non compliance. Transport operators can loose their license if caught transporting horses without a valid Passport

The benefits of the Equine passport Scheme include:

  • Looking after the welfare of your horse
  • Exercising responsible ownership
  • Safeguarding the long-term health of your horse
  • Maximizing the availability of veterinary treatments for your horse
  • Increasing the variety of drugs available for pain relief and other conditions

All foals need to be micro chipped for identification within a time limit as in the link below. All new passports must include a diagram (as well as the microchip details etc).


Follow this link for latest information:
Horse Passport Overview

Animed Veterinary Group is part of CVS (UK) Limited, a company which owns over 300 veterinary practices in the UK. Company Registration Number 03777473. Registered Office CVS House, Owen Road, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4ER