Horse Society comments on passport regulations
British Horse Society, having studied the finalised Horse Passports
(England) Regulations 2003 published by Defra yesterday, has the
following comment to make.
BHS is pleased that at long last the equestrian world has sight
of the regulations relating to horse passports, which come into
force on 30 November. It welcomes the fact that several issues raised
by equine organisations have been accepted by Defra and implemented
in the final document, particularly in relation to extending the
deadline six months to 30 June 2004 and the movement of foals when
the dam is moved to or from stud.
it is still puzzling that passports shall be issued bilingually,
in French and English, other than Section IX, which should only
be in English (Section 13). Section IX is the declaration as to
whether the animal will go into the human food chain or not.
puzzling regulations include Section 15 (3) where slaughterhouses
are expected to retain passports for one year after an animal is
destroyed, rather than return it to the original issuing organisation
so that records can be updated, but perhaps the most worrying change
is Section 18 (3) (b) which 'requires in application forms for passports
and appropriate extra pages an indication of the intended declaration
as to whether or not the horse is intended for human consumption
and sign the passports or appropriate extra pages accordingly'.
Few, if any, application forms include an intended declaration and
it would appear that it is up to the issuing organisation to complete
Section IX of the passport according to this intention. The BHS
will be looking for clarification from Defra on this requirement.
enlightening result of the published regulation is that the original
draconian penalty of six months in prison and/or a fine of £5,000
has been replaced with 'a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum
or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or both'
(Section 23 (1) (a)). Again, the BHS is seeking clarification on
the 'statutory maximum' for a fine.