DEFRA aims to put England at the forefront of a new digital-first system in equine identification and traceability.
Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the equine identification system in England has been reviewed and DEFRA intends to utilise the Central Equine Database (CED) of all equines resident in England to improve traceability, health and welfare.
As of October 2020 it became a requirement for all horses, ponies and donkeys in England, Wales and Scotland to be microchipped and details stored on the CED. This year DEFRA conducted a Consultation on Improvements to the Equine Identification and Traceability in England. It has published the results of its consultation and new legislation is expected to be brought in in the spring to ensure the new measures are enforceable.
A digital-first system would be big step forward in equine identification and traceability, to be used in conjunction with paper passports. The anticipated benefits of horses and ownership details being saved on the CED include being able to flag immediately any loss or thefts of horses. It would also allow information to be shared quickly in relation to any outbreaks of disease and hopefully stop further spread efficiently.
It is also hoped that it will help improve the transportation of horses across the border as records of vacations and health checks would be stored digitally, so there is no need to wait for further checks at borders. Following BREXIT there have been far too many reports of riders and their horses being forced to wait for hours and/or to have horses returned home due to paperwork being incorrect.
We eagerly await the new legislative changes in the New Year.