Sunday, June 28, 2009

From the 1st July 2009 veterinary surgeons will have new responsibilities regarding the identification of horses under European legislation.  There are a number of new requirements which will supersede the 2004 Horse Passport Regulations.  These will include the following:-
1.    Foals born after 1st July 2009 must be microchipped when first identified.  This must be done before the 31st December in the year of its birth, or by six months after its birth whichever is later.  Insertion of a microchip is an act of veterinary surgery and can only be carried out by a registered veterinary surgeon.
2.    Older horses born before the 30th June 2009 that have not yet been issued with a passport must also be microchipped when identified for the first time.
3.    Before inserting a microchip, the veterinary surgeon must check for a previously implanted microchip.  It is now an offence if a veterinary surgeon fails to do this.
4.    New offences have been introduced regarding the administration of veterinary medicinal products.  This is in order to protect the human food chain.
    a.    Veterinary surgeons must ask to see the passport before treating a horse.  It is an offence if they fail to do this.

    b.    It is an offence to treat a horse with a substance unsuitable for use in food producing animals if they do not know the section IX status of the horse.

    c.    It is an offence if the veterinary surgeon fails to record the information required under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2008 when veterinary medicinal products are administered to animals intended for human consumption.  This offence also extends to the keeper of the animal who is required to update the passport if the veterinary surgeon has personally given details of treatment for entry into the passport records.
Detailed guidance notes are currently being prepared by DEFRA and once finalised will be published on the BEVA website (  However, the European regulations come in to force on the 1st July 2009.  While awaiting the guidance notes from DEFRA it is important that veterinary surgeons understand that foals will need a microchip before applying for a passport, and where the section IX status of the animal is unknown or if it is declared intended for human consumption, veterinary surgeons must not administer veterinary medicinal products that will permanently exclude the animal from the food chain (i.e. annex IV products or Phenylbutazone).  Where a passport is not available the detailed record of medicinal products administered must be given to the horse owner /keeper.
We will circulate the detailed guidance notes once they are available.
David Dugdale, Senior Vice President, BEVA

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