European law changes to aid British horse exports

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The European Union Animal Health Law (AHL) came into force on Wednesday, April 21, following extensive lobbying by the specially convened International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) Task Force.
File image. Photo by Shelly Busby

Key changes relating to horse movements between Britain and the European mainland have been welcomed by the task force set up to lobby for change on behalf of the equine industry.

The European Union Animal Health Law (AHL) came into force on Wednesday, April 21, following extensive lobbying by the specially convened International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) Task Force.

Two of the main changes in the legislation are an extension for the use of the current Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for horse movement until August 2021, and the removal of the proposed 30-day isolation period prior to transportation of horses from the United Kingdom (UK) to EU Member States (MSs) and Northern Ireland. In addition, UK horses will no longer be required to do a 30-day isolation period prior to transportation to an EU MSs or Northern Ireland.

The current EHCs remain valid until August 20, 2021, meaning that existing certificates can continue to be used until that time. The new EHCs must be used for all horses from August 21 onwards, but the provision requiring registration of a horse’s precise location while in the EU will be delayed until January 2022.

Horses originating from the UK who are registered with the FEI, a recognised UK organisation or studbook, will no longer be required to do a 30-day pre-export isolation, but will instead need to be under veterinary supervision for 30 days.

Work on the draft legal provision for digital passports, another key proposal from the IHSC Task Force for Brexit and EU Animal Health Law, is ongoing with the European Commission.

IHSC Task Force Chair Dr Göran Akerström welcomed the news from the European Commission and DEFRA (the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

“These were the top of the Task Force’s priority list and we had been pushing hard for them on behalf of the entire European equine industry. We really appreciate that our requests have not just been listened to, but acted upon and this will make a huge difference to the industry as a whole.

“The delay in implementation of the new Export Health Certificates until August will give everyone time to put everything in place and help to minimise the delays for horses travelling between EU Member States and the UK. There was already a derogation from the 30-day isolation period in place for competition horses, but this has now been extended to all registered horses and will be warmly welcomed, particularly by the Thoroughbred breeding industry.”

The IHSC Task Force is continuing to work closely with the Ministries in both the UK and EU Member States in order to agree similar conditions for the transportation of high-health horses that existed under the previous Tripartite Agreement between France, Britain and Ireland.

The IHSC Task Force for Brexit and EU Animal Health Law was created in March 2020 and is a collaboration between the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), the International Thoroughbred Breeders Federation (ITBF) and the European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders Association (EFTBA).

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