Since 2005, all horses, ponies and donkeys are required by law to have a passport. The purpose of the passport is to identify each animal and to state whether the horse is to be used for human consumption or not – this is called section ix and should be signed by each subsequent owner of the animal.
If the horse is NOT signed out of the food chain, ALL medications given to that horse must be recorded in the medication pages, this includes everything from wormers through to antibiotics. Some drugs cannot be given to horses such as phenylbutazone (bute) and chloramphenicol (antibiotic) if the animal is to be used for human consumption. For this reason, most horse owners sign their animals out of the food chain, enabling the horse to be treated without restriction if and when required.
Once a horse has been signed out of the food chain it cannot be changed from this status, if section ix is not signed it is assumed that the horse IS intended for human consumption and so ALL medications must be recorded.
In 2009, it became law that every foal born must have a passport and microchip by the time they are 6 months old (or by 31st December the year of birth – whichever is later)
A passport lasts the horse’s lifetime, if the passport is lost IT IS ILLEGAL to apply for a new one. The owner must apply to the original passport issuing office and request a duplicate or replacement passport. These replacement passports and any passports issued to foals older than 6 months of age will automatically exclude the animal from entering the human food chain.
The passport must be with the animal at all times whether it is at a yard or travelling to shows, you could be asked to present your horse’s passport at any time by trading standards. An unlimited fine applies if you cannot present a valid passport for any animal in your care when requested to do so.
The passport may also be requested by a veterinary surgeon before medications are administered.