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Tell Me More About Horse Passports – Some Questions You Might Be Asking

Since my last posting on ‘Horse Passports’ a number of people have come up to me asking for more information on the subject, so set out below are some common questions and answers that all relate to what you may be asking yourself. I hope they help you……..

Q. When would I need to produce my horse’s passport?
The passport must be produced within three hours of it being requested by enforcement agencies. The passport may be requested at any time but the most common situations where a horse’s passport will be requested include:
• When the animal is moved into or out of Great Britain
• When the animal is used for the purposes of competitions
• When the animal is moved to the premises of a new keeper
• When the animal is presented at a slaughterhouse for slaughter
• When the animal is sold
• When the animal is used for breeding purposes

Q. Do all horses, ponies and donkeys need an equine passport?
YES. All horses, ponies and donkeys must have an equine passport, even if they never leave their field.

Q. Who enforces equine passport laws?
The Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) are responsible for enforcing the checks carried out at slaughterhouses, and Local Authorities (Trading Standards Departments) are responsible for enforcing the law elsewhere. As with all Government legislation, there are penalties that can be applied by the courts for non-compliance. Most offences attract a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum £5,000, two years imprisonment or both.

Q. What should I do if I lose my horse’s passport?
You need to contact the passport issuing organisation who issued the passport. If you lose a BHS passport then you will need to request a ‘duplicate passport’ form by contacting or 01926 707839. They can then reproduce the original passport from their existing records. The duplicate passport will be stamped as a ‘duplicate’ and the section IX will be signed as ‘not for human consumption’. If the original passport is found then the duplicate passport must be return to the BHS immediately.

Q. What should I do with the passport in the event of my horse’s death?
In the event of the death of your horse,  return the passport to the BHS with a covering letter. State whether you would like to have the passport returned to you for sentimental reasons. They will amend their records, which will then be submitted to the National Equine Database. The passport will also be clearly stamped ‘deceased’ to prevent any fraudulent use.

Q. How much do BHS passports cost?
• £25 per passport application
• £10 per passport application from an equine charity
• £16 per passport application for multiple (10+) submissions

Q. Can I apply for a BHS passport if I don’t like my horse’s current passport?
No. If your horse already has an official EU passport then you can not apply for another passport.

Q. I have brought a horse with a BHS passport, what should I do next?
You need to change the ownership details on the passport within 30 days.

Q. I need to change the ownership details on my new horse’s passport but I did not buy the horse from the current registered owner stated on the passport. What do I do?
Contact the BHS passport office on . They may be able to help you contact the current registered owner.

Q. My horse does not have a passport and he does not have a microchip either. What do I need to do?
You must apply for a passport and ask your vet about a microchip. If your horse is a particular breed then you need to apply for a passport via the relevant breed society. For contact details for all Defra approved passport issuing organisations please click here.
If your horse is not a specific breed or is not eligible for registration with a breed society then you can apply for a BHS passport. To request an application form, contact the BHS passport office on   If enquiring via email, forward your full postal address and specify how many applications are required.

Q. A horse that I would like to buy does not have an equine passport, what should I do?
The vendor is committing an offence if they sell the horse without a passport.
Do not complete on the sale of a horse if the passport has not been provided. Make sure that the passport matches the horse in question and request a receipt from the vendor stating the passport number. If you do not receive the horse’s passport, then you will also be committing an offence by transporting the horse to its new premises.

Q. I have brought a horse that has a non-UK EU passport? How do I register the horse in this country?
You should contact the original passport issuing organisation, who may be based in another EU member state. However, if you are unable to contact them, contact the relevant breed society in the UK. A list of UK passport issuing organisations is available on the Defra website. If the horse is not a particular breed then contact the National Equine Database.
I hope that helps. If you have more questions, contact ‘The British Horse Society’.  They will be only to happy to help you.

The Stable Doctor
Research – The British Horse Society
Advice is given without legal responsibility

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