Digital Passport Idea Proposed for European Horse Movement

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an international horse transport plane | Getty Images

An equine digital passport solution, which would ensure the efficient cross-border movement of sport, racing and breeding horses beginning in 2021, was proposed by the International Horse Sports Confederation Taskforce (IHSC) for Brexit and European Union Animal Health Law on Tuesday. The proposal would allow for the free movement of horses between Great Britain and Europe following the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020 and would also meet the requirements of the new European Union Animal Health Law Legislation, which begins on Jan. 1, 2021.

Operational at the beginning of 2021 if accepted for use, the digital passports would provide authorities of EU countries with fail-safe information on the horse's identity, as well as real-time monitoring of its movement and ownership information and updated vaccination and medical records. Paper passports would continue to be issued as is currently required by the EU, until this measure was approved by the EU member states.

The IHSC Task Force is a collaboration between the Federation 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).

“This is an unprecedented show of solidarity for the horse industry in Europe,” FEI Veterinary Director and Chair of the IHSC Task Force Dr. Göran Akerström said. “Great Britain's decision to leave the European Union, the difficulties in implementing the new Animal Health Law legislation, as well as the problems created by the global pandemic stand to adversely impact a regional industry which generates an annual revenue in excess of €50 billion and provides employment for more than 500,000 people.

“Any obstacles to the cross-border movement of horses and associated personnel would result in huge economic losses to Britain, Ireland and France, as well as other EU Member States such as Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy.

“It is imperative that we put in place systems and processes to ensure the efficient and safe cross-border movement of horses and this digital passport would play a key role in that.”

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