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Since June 2004 it is a legal obligation for all horses, ponies and donkeys in the UK to have a valid passport, which must be kept with your horse at all times, including when travelling. When buying a horse, it is important that the seller presents a valid passport, and this is taken by the purchaser upon collection of the horse, you should also seek evidence that the passport matches the horse you are buying, for example by checking the diagram and/or checking the microchip number. Upon purchase of a horse you should contact the Passport Issuing Oganisation (PIO) within 30 days to change the ownership details in the passport.

As of 2009 new regulations mean that microchipping is mandatory with all passport applications, therefore all horses under the age of 9 should have a microchip. All foals should have a passport application completed and a microchip inserted before 6 months of age, or by 31st of December, whichever comes first. Before implanting a microchip, we will always scan your horse to ensure there isn’t a pre-existing chip in place. If a microchip is found attempts can be made to trace it.

All vaccinations administered to your horse by Us should be certified in the horse’s passport; only a vet is allowed to certify vaccines in the passport so please have the passport available when we come to do your horses vaccinations. The rules surrounding other medications being recorded in the microchip are described below. For more information on Horse Passports, including a list of PIOs please visit:

Section IX (human consumption)

The main reason for the strict passport and microchip laws in the UK is to prevent medicines and their residues entering the human food chain via horse meat. One of the main drugs of concern is phenylbutazone (bute). If your horse is intended for human consumption, all medications administered should be recorded in the passport, and a very limited selection of medications may be administered to ensure the horse can still go into the food chain. This means a horse that has received bute should never go into the food chain. In addition, we cannot use the prescribing cascade if your horse is intended for human consumption.

Our experience tells us that the vast majority of our clients do not want their horses to go into the human food chain. We therefore suggest that all horses under out care are signed out of the human food chain, giving us the freedom to treat your horses in the very best way. To do this, section 9 (IX) of the passport should be signed, stating that the horse is NOT intended for human consumption. This section usually also needs to be signed by a Veterinary Surgeon so get one of Us to counter sign at the first or next opportunity.

By agreeing to our terms and conditions you agree to signing this section, or us signing it on your behalf, this is one of our terms of service. By signing your horse out of the food-chain you are giving Us the freedom to use our clinical judgement and use the most appropriate medication for the best outcome for your horse. If you have any concerns or questions regarding horse passports and section IX please don’t hesitate to contact us at the practice. If you wish for your horse to remain in the human food chain you must notify us immediately in writing so that appropriate action can be taken.

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