Digital Passport Proposed to Enable Free Movement of Horses Between Britain & Europe Post Brexit

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Sept. 14, 2020

The creation of a digital passport to enable free movement of horses between Great Britain and Europe is being proposed by an International Sport Horse Confederation task force following the Brexit transition period at the end of this year.

The digital passport system would simplify the movement of horses by providing authorities of EU countries with fail-safe information on a horse’s identity, as well as real-time monitoring of its movement and ownership information. These passports would also contain up-to-date vaccination and medical records, allowing for a higher level of monitoring and prevention of potential disease outbreaks.

The digital passports would be available and operational from the beginning of 2021, although paper passports would continue to be issued as is currently required by the EU. Ultimately, if the system is approved by EU member states, it could be used as an alternative to paper passports.

The proposed solution was the result of collaboration between the International Equestrian Federation, European Equestrian Federation, International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, International Thoroughbred Breeders Federation and European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

“Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, the difficulties in implementing the new EU 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/US$59.5 billion and provides employment for more than 500,000 people,” said Dr. Göran Akerström, FEI Veterinary Director and chair of the IHSC task force.

“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.”