• Industry figures presented evidence to the Select Committee earlier this year
• Report recommends that Government should work with EU to formulate 'high health status' agreement to replace Tripartite Agreement for thoroughbred movement
• Adds that Government should embrace digital systems for equine identification and utilise industry solutions
Issued on behalf of the Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group
The Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group has today welcomed the publication of a report by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee that calls on the UK Government to support the British thoroughbred sector through securing a replacement to the Tripartite Agreement and engaging with the industry on its digital solutions to support expedited thoroughbred movement.
Entitled Moving Animals Across Borders, the cross-party report also makes clear the need for Government to do more to investigate the causes and scale of illegal horse movements, which can also be tackled through embracing the implementation of a digital identification system for horses.
Industry figures presented evidence to the Select Committee earlier this year and in today’s report, it is recommended that “the Government should work with the EU to formulate an agreement on ‘high health status’ horses as quickly as possible”, with British, Irish and French racing and breeding industry leaders in agreement that such a move would benefit all parties.
The report adds that the Government should “embrace (digital) systems or guarantee interoperability with them”, and recognises the thoroughbred industry already has in place the Weatherbys e-passport system, which is capable of acting as a lifetime digital document, encompassing identification, vaccination, medical records, movement and ownership information that could interact with any new government system.
Finally, the report goes on to say that Defra should “investigate non-compliant horse movements and quantify the scale and causes of the practice”, with work to take place in collaboration with organisations such as World Horse Welfare and others with intelligence and expertise in the field.
Ross Hamilton, BHA Head of Public Affairs, who provided oral evidence to the Committee, said: “The Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group welcomes the publication of this important report. We are very grateful to the Select Committee for its careful consideration of the evidence presented by the industry and the clear recommendations for Government, with whom we continue to work closely on improving the arrangements currently in place for thoroughbred movement.
“The implementation of a high health status for the expedited movement of thoroughbreds for racing and breeding purposes, utilising the digital solutions such as the Weatherbys’ E-Passport already in place in our industry, is an objective which has support across the British and European thoroughbred sector.
“It will help support our industry’s clear aim to raise animal welfare and health standards further, improve traceability of thoroughbreds throughout their lives, and help ensure that Britain’s world-leading position in the international industry, generating hundreds of millions of pounds in trade annually for the UK economy, can be boosted.”