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Thu 6th Sep 2018

Passport Regulation Changes

Update from the HPA

On 5 September, the HPA released the following information on their website regarding Equine passports and changes to regulation, due to come into force on 1 October 2018:

The Equine Identification (England) Regulations 2018 will come into force on the 1st of October 2018. 
 
Registering Equines
A major change is the alteration to the timeframe within which your owners MUST report a new foal registration.  Until now, the only consequence for late registration was the threat of action, and a horse being removed from the food chain. This has now changed.  As of the 1st October 2018, all owners must submit a registration of any unregistered equines to the HPA, by 30th November, or within 6 months of the birth of the equine.  Failure to do this could result in a compliance notice (CN) or fixed penalty notice (FPN) being issued. 
There is no requirement to sign a horse from the food chain, unless registered after December 31st, or 6 months after birth, however the owner would have committed an offence by delaying the application. As all equine identification records are updated to the Central Equine Database daily it will not be difficult for Defra to run a report and find animals registered outside of the legal timeframe and take disciplinary action. 
Unfortunately, when it comes to FPNs, there is no provision within the new Regulation which states an enforcement period or deadline for enforcement. This means that as long as the offence took place after the new Act came into force, an FPN can be raised retrospectively.
 
Change of Name 
While not a major change, it should be noted that the word "Passport" is now no longer.  All documents issued are now referred to as an "ID".  And as a result, Passport Issuing Organisations are now no longer referred to as PIOs, but simply Issuing Bodies.
 
Change of ownership
It is now a requirement placed on the new owner of a horse that they MUST return the ID to the Issuing Body (Article 4.2.b). This does not affect the HPA’s system as we already require the document to be returned for a change of ownership to be processed. Please be reminded it is the responsibility of the new owner to register a change of ownership within 30 days of purchasing an equine. 
 
Holding the Identification Document
It is now an offence to keep a horse, which is not registered in accordance with the Regulation, and the corresponding EU Regulation (Regulation 24.2, with regards to Regulation 5). This means that ignorance of a keeper is no longer an acceptable excuse, and the keeper can potentially be prosecuted, separately to the owner.
A new offence has also been created for knowingly withholding an ID from the responsible person (Regulation 25). There are a number of circumstances where this can be applied, and these might include:
Where a relationship breaks down, either marital or personal, and one party withholds the documents.
Livery yards, where an owner refuses to release the documents to the yard owner for an equine in their care.
Livery yards, where an owner removes a horse and a yard owner withholds the passport until such time as outstanding funds are settled.

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