We have updated our Privacy Policy. You can find out more here.
For Equine Vets Everywhere

Movement of Equines between the UK and the EU after Brexit

Please see below a DEFRA communication highlighting how international equine movements will be affected after Brexit. This note was sent to all relevant OV's on the 18 February 2019. 

The headline points are:

  • If the UK reaches a deal with the EU, then there will no changes to the process for the movement of equines during any agreed implementation period.
  • If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the requirements (after 29 March 2019) will depend firstly on whether the EU lists the UK as a third country and secondly on the health status category the EU gives the UK. 
  • The EU has not yet decided on third country or health status and may keep us waiting.
  • Defra will be releasing guidance for owners later this week.  You might therefore receive a barrage of questions – hence Defra has allowed us to circulate this note to provide BEVA members with background information.

INFORMATION NOTE – Please read the information below carefully

Movement of equines between the UK and the EU after Brexit

This is an update to equine veterinarians on what changes may apply to the process for certifying equines for movement from the UK to the EU after the 29 March 2019 in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.   

Summary

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the requirements for after 29 March 2019 are dependent on:

  • if the EU lists the UK as a third country for the export of equines
  • the sanitary group (health status category) the EU gives the UK

If the EU does not list the UK as a third country, there will be no movement of equines to the EU.

If the UK is listed, to export equines, owners will need:

What will change?

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the UK will become a third country on 30 March 2019. 

For the purposes of equine movement the EU has a number of different sanitary groups which third countries are assigned to. The group the UK is placed in will depend on the outcome of an application to the EU Commission made by the UK, currently under review. The Commission has outlined its intention to provide listing for the UK swiftly, but should no listing be secured equines will be unable to move from the UK to the EU.

Currently equines can be moved to the EU either;

  • under the Tripartite Agreement (TPA). Under this arrangement, eligible equines travelling to France require a commercial document (DOCOM) and  equines travelling to Ireland do not require any form of animal health certificate.

Or

  • with an Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) for all other equine movements not made under the TPA,

Under a no deal scenario, equines will require the same animal health documentation and the same level of health checks prior to travel, regardless of which EU country they are travelling to.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal;

  • The UK will no longer be a party to the Tripartite Agreement so all movements currently made under the TPA will be subject to the same requirements as all other equines from 30 March
  • All equines will need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) in order to travel for each journey made from the UK to the EU. The EHC will replace the ITAHC and DOCOM
  • All unregistered equines will need a new UK Government issued ID document in order to travel. Equines registered on a recognised studbook or pedigree register or with an international organisation for racing and competition will be able to use current ID documents to travel. Current equine passports will continue to be required as now for domestic identification purposes and will need to accompany a Government issued ID during travel for relevant equines.
  • All equines entering the EU will need to do so via a Border Inspection Post (BIP)
  • All equines will be required to undergo relevant blood tests within 30 days or less of travel to prove the absence of certain diseases.

If the UK reaches a deal with the EU, then there will no changes to the process for the movement of equines during any agreed implementation period.

Sanitary grouping and testing for disease

The type and number of blood tests that will be required will depend on what sanitary group the UK is placed in by the EU.  

Until the UK’s listed status is confirmed owners should consider preparing for each of the most likely sanitary groups as set out below to make sure their equine will be able to travel. 

Before an equine can be certified for travel and be issued an EHC by an OV, equines will need to be tested for the absence of certain diseases.

Below are the blood test requirements for sanitary groups A and B. In the unlikely event that the UK is listed in a sanitary group other than A or B, it is unlikely that any further blood tests would be required, due to the absence of relevant diseases from the UK. In this scenario we will issue further guidance if needed.

If the UK is put in sanitary group A, equines will need to be tested for:

  • equine infectious anaemia within 30 days of travel for permanent moves
  • equine infectious anaemia within 90 days of travel for temporary moves (moves of under 90 days of equines registered on a studbook, pedigree register or with an international body for sporting and competition purposes)

In the event that equine viral arteritis is detected in the UK within 6 months of the equines intended date of departure:

  • equine viral arteritis within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet other specific vaccine or testing requirements specified in the Model Health Certificate. These can be found in EU Commission Implementing Regulation 2018/659.

If the UK is put in Sanitary Group B, equines will also need blood tests for:

  • glanders within 30 days before travel
  • dourine within 30 days before travel for an uncastrated male or a female if they are older than 270 days

Sampling can be carried out by any qualified veterinarian. Blood samples must be sent to the APHA laboratory in Weybridge for analysis.

Residency requirements

If the UK is put in sanitary group A or B, owners will need to ensure that equines meet certain residency and isolation requirements, depending on the type of move they are undertaking.

To export a registered horse for under 90 days, it will need to have been resident on a UK holding under veterinary supervision, in a country with a similar health status or in an EU member state for 40 days prior to export.

For permanent exports, equines must be resident on a UK holding under veterinary supervision, or in a country with a similar health status:

  • for 90 days
  • since birth if the animal is less than 90 days old
  • since entry to the UK if the animal was imported directly from the EU fewer than 90 days before export

Equines being exported permanently must also meet isolation requirements. They should be kept separate from other equines not of the equivalent health status for 30 days prior to export. If the UK is put in sanitary group B, this isolation must take place under veterinary supervision.

In the unlikely event that the UK is put in a sanitary group other than A or B different residency and isolation requirements may apply. In this scenario we will issue further guidance if needed.

An official vet with the appropriate authorisation must confirm these requirements have been met before export.

Veterinary supervision

OVs will need to be assured by owners’ records that equines meet the relevant residency and isolation requirements. Depending upon the UK’s sanitary grouping, they may also need to see evidence that either the holding or the equine has been under veterinary supervision during the relevant time period of residence/isolation.

Owners may therefore look to contact their vets ahead of export to ensure that their equine is registered with a vet and to alert a vet to their plans to export and steps taken to isolate an equine in preparation.

We do not anticipate owners requiring regular veterinary visits during a period of pre-export residency or isolation for EU exports, as is required for equine exports to some other countries currently.

Certifying equines for movement – Export Health Certificates and Government issued ID

The EHC will replace the Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) for exports to EU countries.

Before an EHC can be issued by an OV, equines will need to have been tested and found free of certain diseases (see above).

Steps for owners to get an EHC and Government issued ID:

  1. Owner will be able to find the EHC and other forms needed on the export health certificate form finder. If exporting from Northern Ireland, owners should contact their local DAERA office. Most EHCs also have guidance documents explaining how to fill out the certificate. If the equine is not registered on a recognised studbook, pedigree register or with an international body for sporting and competition purposes, the owner will also be able to apply for a Government issued ID document at this point in the process via the form finder.
  2. Owner nominates an official vet to inspect the horse or other equine. There are various ways owners will be able to find an official vet:
    1. check the list of professionals who can certify export health certificates on GOV.UK
    2. ask at a local vet practice
    3. email csconehealthovteam@apha.gov.uk (or if in Northern Ireland contact DAERA)
  3. Owner fills in the EHC and supporting forms and emails them to the APHA address on the forms.
  4. APHA will send the EHC and if relevant the Government issued ID document to the nominated official vet within 7 working days, or within one working day if planning to export in the next 7 working days. They will provide copies of the EHC in the languages of the destination country and the country where the horse or other equine first enters the EU.
  5. Owner arranges for the official vet to check that the horse or other equine meets the health requirements of the destination country within 24 hours of travel. The official vet will complete and sign the EHC and send a copy to APHA.  If relevant, they will also complete, stamp, sign and date the Government Issued ID. Official vet will then email a copies of the relevant documents to APHA.
  6. Owner keeps the completed EHC and other documents with the animal during travel

There will be no fee for the Export Health Certificate or Government issued ID.

If you’re in Northern Ireland, contact DAERA for specific advice.

When will equine owners need to take action to prepare?

Equine owners will be advised to consult veterinarians at least six weeks ahead of when they intend to move their equine to allow for any additional blood tests and to make appointments with a vet.

Defra will begin to issue advice to equine owners from mid-February to allow time for preparations in the event of a no deal exit.

We advise checking gov.uk regularly for the latest information 

Imports

In the event of a ‘no deal’, the Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) used to import live animals and germinal products directly from the EU will be replaced with the UK Health Certificate.

The importer will be responsible for ensuring APHA receives a complete and valid UK Health Certificate for these consignments. In order to do so, importers must notify APHA of intended arrival of a consignment who will provide the importer with a Unique Notification Number (UNN). The UNN should be given to the EU Official Veterinarian who enters the UNN on the UK Health Certificate. The UK Health Certificate should be sent to APHA and a paper copy should travel with the consignment. There will continue to be no border checks for live animals and germinal products imported directly from the EU. 

For horses which currently enter the UK from France using a DOCOM, or travel from Ireland without any animal health documentation, there will be no immediate change to the current entry documentation in the event of a no deal. Importers will, however, need to notify APHA of the arrival of a future consignment.

Customs

Importers will also need to comply with UK customs procedures. In some cases importers may want to register for simplified import procedures. Information from HMRC on customs procedures in the event of a no deal exit from the EU are available here.  

Owners regularly moving the same equine between the UK and EU may wish to consider applying for an ATA Carnet to further streamline customs procedures. More information is available here.

Will Official Vets need any additional training?

Official Veterinarians who are currently certified to carry out the current checks for equine travel won’t need to undertake any additional qualifications.

After 29 March 2019, vets who wish to qualify as an Official Veterinarian for equine travel, would be required to undertake training modules in the same way as now. From 29 March 2019, the training modules for OVs will cover information on any new processes.

If you have any questions regarding any of the information above please contact: EquineExportsCarlisle@apha.gov.uk

Yours faithfully,

Pamela Thompson

Deputy Director, Biosecurity and Food Projects