New Equine ID Regulations in England, Wales and Scotland

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What do horse owners need to know about the new equine ID regulations in England, Wales and Scotland?

The new equine identification regulations make it a legal requirement for all horses in England, Wales and Scotland to be identified, meaning that the animal will have to be microchipped and passported, and will introduce civil sanctions for those who do not comply, such as fixed penalty notices.  Owners will need to get any equine born before 30th June 2009 retrospectively microchipped, if it is not already chipped. Please see below for the deadlines for retrospective microchipping in each country.

  • England: all equines to be microchipped by 1st October 2020.
  • Wales: all equines to be microchipped by 12th February 2021.
  • Scotland: all equines to be microchipped by 28th March 2021.

Horse owners need to visit the new Chip Checker and input their horse’s microchip number to check the details are all up to date. If your horse's details are incorrect, then you should notify your Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO).

  • If your horse is deceased, you must inform your PIO to safeguard against the microchip being re-used fraudulently for a different horse.
  • If you purchase a horse, or your horse is lost, stolen, dies or is signed out of the food chain you must let your PIO know within 30 days. The PIO will have 24 hours in which to update the Central Equine Database (CED).
  • If your horse is imported into the UK then it must be registered with a UK PIO within 30 days of it arriving.
  • If an owner fails to comply with the equine ID regulations, their local authority may serve a non-compliance notice which will give them a set period to comply. Depending on the severity of the offence, they may receive a fixed monetary penalty. 

Offences include:

  • Failing to produce a passport when instructed by a vet or inspector.
  • Possessing a passport but no horse.
  • Possessing a horse with no passport or when the passport is not in your name without an agreement (preferably a written contract) between the owner and the ‘keeper’ (person responsible).
  • Selling a horse and not handing over the passport.
  • Transporting a horse without a passport.
  • Owning a horse without a microchip (unless born pre 30th June 2009 and it is within the two year transition period).

Owners are advised to combine microchipping with a routine vet visit, such as annual vaccinations, to minimise costs.

Click here to download a summary of the benefits to horses and owners of the new regulations.