Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my horse need a passport?
Laws have passed in Britain which mean that owners must have obtained a DEFRA approved passport by the 28th February 2005.

Why are passports compulsory?
It is an EU directive aimed at stopping harmful medicines entering the human food chain.

Will all horses need to have a passport?
YES. All horses, ponies and donkeys will need to have a passport even if they never leave their field! legally you must of applied for a passport by 31st December of the year of birth or at 6 months of ages, whichever is later. Obviously it is better to apply late than not at all, If caught without one your local authority may fine you up to £5000 per horse without a passport, however we do not penalise for applying late.

Does my horse need to be Microchipped?
Yes, all owners must ensure their horses are microchipped before applying for a new passport.

How long does the passport last?
For the horse’s life, it needs to be amended when the horse changes ownership or owner address.

What information will the passport contain?
It will include your details, the horse’s silhouette/description, vaccination records and its treatment with specific medicines. It may also contain a Date of Birth, we take no responsibility as to whether this is correct, we rely on the information given to us by the owner. The passport is not a proof of age.

The passport will also contain a Unique Equine Life Number (UELN) which identifies the horse. It includes a 3 digit code for the UK (826), 3 digits for the Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) and 9 digits for each horse registered with that specific PIO.

How do I transfer the ownership on a passport?
To transfer the ownership on a passport there is a section towards the back that you have to fill in, which is headed “transfer of ownership and endorsement of sale” There are 4 boxes to a page which say name of new owner, put all of your details in this section and send the whole passport back to us. There is a fee to transfer of £12.95. Cheques can be made payable to Farmkey. The transfer may take up to 2-3 weeks depending on whether the correct sections have been signed.

Can I make amendments to the passport myself?
No, If you or any previous owner have defaced the original passport on the front page this invalidates it and you would have to apply for a duplicate.

What is the section about equines entering the food chain?
Section 9 on the passport allows you to make a declaration to say your horse should never enter the food chain. This allows your vet to administer a wide range of medicines to treat your horse when necessary. This decision can never be reversed. For those who declare the horse can enter the food chain then this limits the medicines which can be used – this declaration can however be reversed at a later date to prevent the horse entering the food chain.

When should I sign Section IX?
Owners should sign the declaration in section IX when the horse is exported, administered with any drug listed in Annex IV (prohibited for food producing animals) or consigned for human consumption.

Where is the information on my horse held?
The issuing PIO will hold the information.

Where can I get a passport from?
Passport Issuing Organisations (PIO’s) are DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) approved companies that issue passports. They include breed societies and sporting organisations and currently there are over 70.

How do I choose a PIO?
If your horse is of a specific breed then the relevant breed society is the best place to obtain a passport. If not, then one of the non-specific PIO’s would be best suited. However, your horse will be registered with the PIO for life, so ensure your PIO is an established, well respected organisation that is likely to be able to provide you support in the future.

What do I need to do now?
Evaluate the PIO’s available and choose the one best suited to your long term needs. Do not base your decision solely on the price of the passport – amendments and long term viability also need to be strong considerations. The passport must stay with your horse for life and it may need to be returned to the same PIO to be amended in years to come!