The Tripartite Agreement (TPA) governing the movement of certain categories of horses between the UK, Ireland and France has recently be revised and the new rules come into force on 18 May.
What is the TPA?
The TPA is a derogation (agreement to amend) to the European Community Regulation governing the movement of horses. The agreement is between the Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) of the three signatory countries, the United Kingdom, France and Ireland. The CVOs must be assured that it is effective in managing and tracing movements of horses to control the spread of disease. The TPA enables horses which are of demonstrably higher health status than the general horse population, and therefore at lower risk of transmitting disease, to travel under the TPA without veterinary health certification.
How is the TPA that comes into force on 18 May different from the previous TPA?
In addition to a valid identification horse passport, each horse will now need to be accompanied by an additional document known as a DOCOM. These documents confirm the high health status of the horse and record the movement on the European Community’s (EU’s) animal movements database, known as TRACES.
Who is responsible for the TPA and who administers it?
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) are responsible for making the TPA function effectively in the United Kingdom. The equivalent government departments and agencies in France and Ireland are likewise responsible. For 2014, Defra has approved three horse industry bodies to manage the TPA on its behalf; these are:
1. Weatherbys and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) jointly
2. British Horseracing Authority (BHA)
3. British Equestrian Federation (BEF)
In turn, these approved bodies have delegated the responsibility for producing DOCOMs for people who plan to transport their horses under the TPA to their approved transporters/shippers/shipping agents (shippers). See later for how to apply to become an approved shipper.
Which horses can travel under the new TPA?
Only horses that have a high health status can be moved under the new TPA. These are:
1. Registered General Stud Book (GSB) Thoroughbreds, or which are registered in
Weatherbys’ Non Thoroughbred Register (NTR) or Autre Que Pur Sang (AQPS) horses for breeding, sale, training and racing in France
2. Sport horses and ponies entered into Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) governed competition in France.
These two groups of horses have been assigned a high health status because of the regularity of veterinary checks they undergo and their compliance with their governing bodies’ vaccination policies and veterinary regulations.
Which documentation must accompany horses travelling under the TPA?
If you are moving a horse to France under the TPA, you will require a document to accompany your valid identification horse passport. This document is called a DOCOM and can be obtained from an approved shipper by completing a Consignor Declaration form (CONDEC). A fee will be payable for production of this document. Fees may vary between shippers.
How long does a DOCOM last?
A DOCOM’s duration is 10 days from the date of issue. If a horse stays in France for longer than 10 days a return DOCOM must be issued by an equivalent approved shipper in France
Do I need a DOCOM to travel between Ireland and the UK?
No, this is not needed because these two countries are considered as a single epidemiological unit for equine health purposes.
How do I apply to be an approved shipper?
By application to the relevant approved body for the category of horses you wish to transport. This could be Weatherbys/TBA, BHA or BEF.
What to do if a horse cannot travel under the TPA
If your horse does not comply with the high health status requirements of the TPA, you will need to obtain a Health Certificate or Health Attestation in addition to your valid identification horse passport before you can travel (as defined in Council Directive 2009/156 EC). For details on how to obtain a Health Certificate, contact AHVLA Carlisle, details below or an equine shipping agent, who will be able to advise.
What if a horse is in Ireland or France?
For the movement of French or Irish resident horses, please check the requirements with the
relevant government department or agency before travelling.
What about the requirement for an AHA certificate or Export Licence?
The law has not changed in respect of the requirement for these documents.
For general export and travel queries please contact:
Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA):
T: 01228 403600
For a list of approved shippers or to apply to be an approved shipper, please contact:
Breeding and Youngstock – Weatherbys
T: 01933 440077
Racing and Training - British Horseracing Authority
T: 0207 152 0090
FEI sport horses:
British Equestrian Federation
T: 02476 698871