A short online survey asking those living in the UK their views on the current equine ID system has been launched by the British Horse Council (BHC).
The survey should take only a few minutes to complete, although there is an option to expand with more information. It is open to anyone with an interest in equine identification in the UK, but there is also a specific section for horse owners/keepers and questions will be specific depending on where they live.
Having an accurate, up-to-date database is vital not only for the effective enforcement of legislation but also for disease control. It will also allow lost or stolen horses to be reunited with their owners, as well as make it easier to identify those responsible for horses suffering from poor welfare and hold them to account.
World Horse Welfare has been pressing for improvements to the equine identification – or horse passport – system for some time and has been working alongside the BHC in developing the survey.
On April 5, Defra launched a consultation to seek the public’s views on the UK Government’s proposals for improving equine identification and traceability in England. However, this consultation does not cover the rest of the UK, and some may find the consultation a bit lengthy and the terminology not especially user-friendly. The BHC survey is more straightforward and will allow views to be heard from the whole of the UK.
David Mountford, Chair of the British Horse Council, said the current ID system “simply isn’t fit for purpose”. He said that more than half of the data on the Central Equine Database – which is meant to hold up-to-date information on all horses in the UK – is inaccurate or incomplete.
“Defra’s consultation gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make our voices heard regarding how we manage our horses’ information in the future. It is quite long and technical though, and for the 750,000 busy horse owners in the UK, we’ve made it even easier to share your views.”
Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said that governments respond well to strong evidence and the equine ID survey allows the voice of horse owners and others affected to be heard by not only Defra but all the UK Governments. “An integrated system for equine ID across the UK is desperately needed and this straightforward and accessible survey will allow horse owners, keepers or anyone else with an interest to have their say on this pivotal issue.
“Moreover, it will also deliver the evidence we need to persuade UK Governments to make the changes needed to deliver a system that is workable, enforceable and enforced. This is fundamental to supporting all of our equine health and welfare legislation,” Owers said.