Details of a new digital passport solution to allow for the free movement of horses between Britain and Europe in a post-Brexit era have been outlined by the International Sport Horse Confederation (IHSC) Taskforce for Brexit and European Union (EU) Animal Health Law, with Weatherbys leading work done so far on a solution for Britain and Ireland.
The proposed E-Passport would also meet the requirements of the new EU Animal Health Law Legislation, which comes into force at the beginning of next year.
The digital passport system would simplify the movement of horses by providing authorities of EU countries with fail-safe information on the horse’s identity, as well as real-time monitoring of its movement and ownership information. These passports would also contain up-to-date vaccination and medical records, allowing for a higher level of monitoring and prevention of potential disease outbreaks.
Digital passports would be available and operational from the beginning of 2021, although paper passports would continue to be issued for as long as required by the EU. Ultimately though, as long as the system is approved by EU Member States, it could offer a full replacement.
The IHSC Task Force is the result of a collaboration that has brought together the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) as well as the International Thoroughbred Breeders Federation (ITBF), the European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders Association (EFTBA).
"This is an unprecedented show of solidarity for the horse industry in Europe," FEI Veterinary Director and Chair of the IHSC Task Force Dr Göran Akerström said.
"Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, the difficulties in implementing the new Animal Health Law legislation, as well as the problems created by the global pandemic stand to adversely impact a regional industry which generates an annual revenue in excess of €50 billion and provides employment for more than 500,000 people.
"Any obstacles to the cross-border movement of horses and associated personnel would result in huge economic losses to Britain, Ireland and France, as well as other EU Member States such as Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy.
"It is imperative that we put in place systems and processes to ensure the efficient and safe cross-border movement of horses and this digital passport would play a key role in that."
Work in Britain and Ireland on the digital passport has been led by Weatherbys, who began development over two years ago. Elements of the Weatherbys E-Passport functionality are already in use within Britain, Ireland and other jurisdictions.
These elements included Vaccination and Movement functionality to support the British Horseracing Authority and Horse Racing Ireland with their ‘Return to Racing’ protocols.
Weatherbys continue to work closely with both HRI and the BHA regarding the rollout, highlighted by the fact that HRI have made the E-Passport the central digital recording and data repository tool within their five year Welfare Strategy.How it looks - the Weatherbys E-Passport
The E-Passport will go live to the UK and Irish Thoroughbred market in 2021 when it will include stallion, mare and foal registration, pre- and post-racing vaccinations and medications along with ownership updates and full identification.
Brian Kavanagh, CEO Horse Racing Ireland, said: “The work we are doing in conjunction with the IHRB and utilising the Weatherbys E-Passport has been incredibly positive for the pre-clearance of vaccination status. We see the E-passport as a central part of the welfare and traceability strategy for Irish Racing over the coming years.”
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