New Equine Identification Rules for England

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Horses in a fieldOn 1 October 2018, the Equine Identification (England) Regulations 2018 come into force replacing the Horse Passports Regulations 2009. These come hot on the heels of the long-awaited Central Equine Database, which became fully operational earlier this year, and which makes it far easier to obtain accurate information on abandoned horses or ponies, or those with welfare concerns.

Where an equine is already microchipped and has a valid Horse Passport issued in the UK, that will in most cases be enough to satisfy the new rules. There are, however, a number of significant changes, including the requirement for all equines to be microchipped regardless of age. Previously, this only applied to those born after 2009.

In summary the new regulations provide for the following:

Breach of the regulations by an owner or keeper is an offence, punishable on conviction by an unlimited fine. Under the new rules, instead of prosecution, a local authority may issue a compliance notice, and if that is not complied with (or it is not reasonably practicable to issue one) may impose a financial penalty of up to £200. It may also require the offender to pay the costs reasonably incurred. These can include not only investigation and administration costs, but also the costs of obtaining expert and legal advice.

For advice on the new regulations or equine identification issues, please contact Tim Ryan on 01732 770660 or email

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

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