Exporting equines to EU Member States

'Equidae' is defined as wild or domesticated animals of the equine (including zebras) or asinine species (or the offspring of crossings of those species) and are governed under Council Directive 2009/156/EC. Intra-Community trade in equidae is subject to harmonised EU animal health and welfare rules.

Equine Approved Authorised Veterinary Inspectors

The following link provides details of the veterinary practices in Northern Ireland that have equine approved Authorised Veterinary Inspectors (AVIs):

Venue Specific Equine Export Isolation Facilities

There are specific conditions which must be satisfied before approval will be granted for a Venue Specific Equine Export Isolation Facility at a racing, competition or cultural event. These conditions are explained in the following guidance:

Equine event guidance where EU (ROI) participation after a no deal EU exit is anticipated

Guidance for organisers of racing, competition and cultural events where movement back to the EU (including ROI) of registered horses will be required after the event if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal.

Tripartite Agreement

A Tripartite Agreement (TPA) is in place for the movement of horses specifically between the United Kingdom, France and the Republic of Ireland which allows for a relaxation of the procedures required under Council Directive 2009/156/EC.  The TPA was revised in 2014 and the following rules now apply

Movement between UK and Ireland

For the movement of horses (other than animals for slaughter) between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland free movement is allowed without the need for Veterinary export health certification as long as each horse is accompanied by its passport.

NB:  Horses in this category must be accompanied by a Passport.  In these cases, the Passport can be issued by any Passport Issuing Organisation.

Movement between France and UK

For the movement of horses (other than animals for slaughter) between the UK and France, horses can be transported without the need for Veterinary export health certification as long as each horse is

  • accompanied by a passport approved by a TPA approved body (see below)
  • registered with an approved TPA body (see below)
  • the movement is notified in advance on the EU TRACES system and the horse is accompanied by a Commercial Document (DOCOM) issued from TRACES

TPA approved bodies

In order to gain registration with a TPA approved body the horse owner must be able to demonstrate that certain criteria are being met.  Details of these criteria can be obtained from the TPA approved bodies, a list of which is shown below.

Weatherbys for registered Thoroughbreds and horses registered on the Non-Thoroughbred register used for racing, breeding, in training or moving to a sale.  Tel +44 (0) 1933 440077 or email tpa@weatherbys.co.uk

Thoroughbred Breeders Association: for registered Thoroughbreds and horses registered on the Non-Thoroughbred register used for racing, breeding, in training or moving to a sale. Tel +44 (0)1638 661321 or email info@thetba.co.uk

British Horseracing Authority: for registered Thoroughbreds and horses registered on the Non-Thoroughbred register used for racing, breeding, in training or moving to a sale. Tel +44 (0) 207152 0000 or email info@britishhorseracing.com

British Equestrian Federation: for sport horses competing in a Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) competition. Tel +44 (0) 2476 698871 or email info@bef.co.uk

The Turf Club: for the category of racehorses competing in France. Tel +353 (0)45 445600 or email info@turfclub.ie

Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association: for the category of registered thoroughbreds being moved for breeding or from a sale.  Tel +353 (0)45 877543 or email info@itba.ie

Horse Sport Ireland: for category of Sport horses competing at FEI affiliated competitions. Tel +353 (0)45 850800 or email info@horsesportireland.ie

Once registered with a TPA body and with a Passport approved by them (and before a horse is exported to France) the details of the export should be passed by either the owner or the transporter to the relevant TPA body.  The TPA body will then create a DOCOM to accompany the horse and its passport during transit.  The TPA body may delegate the creation of DOCOMs to transporters.  Transporters wishing to carry out this role on behalf of themselves or their clients must firstly be approved for such transport by the competent authority (DARD in the north and DAFM in the south) and then approved by a TPA approved body and trained by them in the use of the EU TRACES system.

Summary table of trade requirements

The table below outlines the documentation required for the trade in horses to EU Member States.

Class of export from the UK (Northern Ireland) Documentation required
Horses for slaughter to the Republic of Ireland (ROI)

veterinary health certification provided by an Authorised Veterinary Inspector

a passport (issued by any Passport Issuing Organisation – PIO)

Horses (other than those for slaughter) to the ROI covered under the Tripartite Agreement (TPA)

a passport (issued by any Passport Issuing Organisation – PIO)

Horses for breeding, production or slaughter to France

veterinary health certification provided by an Authorised Veterinary Inspector

a passport (issued by any Passport Issuing Organisation – PIO)

Horses approved under The Tripartite Agreement (TPA) to France i.e.
  • registered with an approved TPA body
  • holding a passport approved by a TPA body
  • transported by a TPA approved transporter

a Commercial Document (DOCOM) issued and notified on TRACES by a TPA body or the approved transporter authorised by them

a TPA body approved Passport

Horses to France (other than those for breeding, production,  slaughter or TPA approved) i.e. registered horses

veterinary health certification provided by an Authorised Veterinary Inspector

a passport that has been issued by a Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) designated for that purpose

Horses for breeding, production or slaughter to EU Member States (outside the Tripartite Agreement (TPA))

veterinary health certification provided by an Authorised Veterinary Inspector

a passport (issued by any Passport Issuing Organisation – PIO)

Horses (other than those for breeding, production or slaughter) to EU Member States (outside the Tripartite Agreement (TPA)) i.e. registered horses

veterinary health certification provided by an Authorised Veterinary Inspector

a passport that has been issued by a Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) designated for that purpose

Export certification for breeding, production or slaughter horses outside the Tripartite Agreement (TPA)

Horses in this category must be accompanied by a passport.  In these cases the passport can be issued by any passport issuing organisation. Equidae for slaughter means equidae intended to be transported directly to the slaughterhouse for slaughter. 

Export certification for registered horses outside the Tripartite Agreement (TPA)

Registered equidae are equidae registered in studbooks established in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/1012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on zootechnical and genealogical conditions for the breeding, trade in and entry into the Union of purebred breeding animals, hybrid breeding pigs and the germinal products thereof, or with international organisations managing competitions.

To further clarify, the presence of a passport does not necessarily equal 'registered' status for export and trade purposes and certain passport issuing organisations can issue passports to both registered and unregistered horses. Registered status implies a higher health and welfare status for trade and export purposes because of either studbook entry or the regularity of veterinary checks and compliance with governing bodies’ vaccination policies and veterinary regulations for horses registered to compete internationally.

Export certification for equine semen collected after 31 August 2010

The documentation linked below is for the export of equine semen collected after 31 August 2010 and dispatched from the approved semen collection centre at which it was collected. This trade should be certified using TRACES health certificate 2010/470 Equine Semen Part A.

Export certification for equine semen collected before 1 September 2010

The documentation linked below is for the export of equine semen collected before 1 September 2010 and dispatched from the approved semen collection centre at which it was collected. This trade should be certified using TRACES health certificate 2010/470 Equine Semen Part B.

Export certification for equine semen despatched from an approved storage centre

The documentation linked below is for equine semen collected before 1 September 2010 or after 31 August 2010 and dispatched from an approved semen storage centre having been moved there from another centre in the UK, EU or a Third Country. This trade should be certified using TRACES health certificate 2010/470 Equine Semen Part C.

Export certification for equine ova or embryos collected or produced after 31 August 2010

The documentation linked below is for the export of equine ova or embryos collected or produced after 31 August 2010 and dispatched by the approved embryo collection/production team of origin. This trade should be certified using TRACES health certificate '2010/470 Equine Ova or Embryos Part A'.

Export certification for equine ova or embryos collected, processed and stored before 1 September 2010 and dispatched after 31 August 2010

The documentation linked below is for the export of equine ova or embryos collected, processed and stored before 1 September 2010 and dispatched after 31 August 2010 by the approved embryo collection team of origin. This trade should be certified using TRACES health certificate '2010/470 Equine Ova or Embryos Part B'

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