Defra consulted on changes to reflect the new EU Equine Passport Regulation in spring 2017. The legal provisions are fundamentally the same as those that have been in place since 2009. The Regulation is primarily a human health measure, to make sure that horses do not enter the human food chain if they have been treated with medicinal products not authorised for food producing animals. One of the key changes is the requirement that all Member States have a national Central Equine Database (CED) containing important information about the identity and status of equines.
Since the consultation closed, Defra has made good progress establishing the CED. The CED will contain up-to-date information from all Passport Issuing Organisations allowing enforcement bodies to verify the food chain status of every animal and help locate owners of horses that are abandoned, lost or straying.
I was pleased to read that usability testing of the CED has been successfully completed and, at the time of writing, two thirds of all PIOs have provided data for the CED. Enforcement bodies including local authorities and the Food Standards Agency are already able to search records. I am able to inform you that the database will be fully operational for PIOs by the spring.