From October 1, 2020, microchipping of all horses, ponies and donkeys in England will be mandatory under a government directive, a move that has been backed by international animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary.
Each animal’s details are to be added to the Central Equine Database, which will enable local authorities and the police to trace owners of abandon or stolen equines, while also helping to improve animal welfare standards.
The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said mandatory microchipping is a hugely important step forward in the speedy identification of abandoned or stolen animals, as had been seen with cats and dogs.
“Microchipping will not only help the police and local authorities, but also support the UK’s efforts to improve traceability and ensure we have better control over any disease outbreaks.”
All equine owners are legally required to ensure their animals’ details are kept up-to-date on the Central Equine Database. This can be accessed online via the Digital Stable and holds information on all donkeys, horses and ponies in England (and elsewhere in the UK).
If equine owners do not microchip their animals by October 2020 they could face sanctions from their local authority, including a fine.
The Donkey Sanctuary is in favour of the move to have all equines microchipped by the Autumn deadline, with Hannah Bryer, the charity’s Head of Welfare, saying that ensuring donkeys were correctly identified is “an important but often forgotten part” of ownership.
“Every year our welfare team supports hundreds of donkeys who find themselves in need of our help. Many of them are not identified correctly. For example, often we find either they don’t have an equine passport or microchip, or for those that do, the details don’t always match,“ Bryer said.
“Microchipping is a quick, simple and relatively inexpensive way to ensure your donkey can be identified. If contact details are kept up to date, it is also a great tool to help ensure owners are reunited with their donkeys in the event they are lost or stolen.
“We also hope compulsory microchipping will help identify owners who abandon or neglect their equines.“