Equine - moving equines - Brexit Q&A

You can use the menu on the right hand side of the screen to skip between questions. Last updated on 23 Sept 2019

Background

Under the Tripartite Agreement (TPA), most horse movements within the island of Ireland are currently permitted without the need for certification.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will no longer be a party to the TPA and there will be changes to the requirements for the movement of horses from the UK to the EU.

Equine owners will need to take steps to prepare for a potential no deal and should consult a vet at least six weeks ahead of when they are intending to move their equine to the EU.

This is because if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will become a third country. Third countries are required to be ‘listed’ by the relevant EU committee in order to export equines to the EU. We are confident the UK will meet the requirements for listing.

As a listed third country, UK equines would need to undertake blood tests for certain diseases within 30 days before travel to the EU. There would also be changes to the documentation required to move equines from the UK to the EU.

In particular, an Export Health Certificate completed by an Authorised Veterinary Inspector (AVI) will be required to facilitate the movement and, in some cases, a Government issued ID document to move equines to an EU country will be required.

Should owners and businesses actively be preparing for no deal?

Yes. Whilst the UK Government’s priority remains securing a deal, it is crucial that owners and businesses that wish to move equines to the EU after exit day are prepared to meet the additional requirements that will result from a no deal scenario. Planning may take up to six weeks.

What will I need to do differently following a no deal exit to move my equine from the UK to the EU (incl. horses, ponies and donkeys)?

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then equine owners will be required to make sure that their animal meets the requirements for travelling to the EU from a third country, as we will no longer be a part of the EU.

This means that owners will need to make sure all equines being moved to the EU from the UK:

  • are tested for the absence of certain diseases within 30 days or less of their travel date
  • meet the residency and isolation requirements of movements to the EU from a listed third country
  • have the right documentation for travel, which will be an Export Health Certificate and, in some cases, a Government issued ID document

The rules for entry into the EU are set by the European Commission and applied by the receiving member state. EU law currently provides that equines coming from third countries must come through an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP). You may wish to consult the authorities in the receiving country for further information about entry into the European Union.

Will this mean increased costs for owners?

The testing requirements and additional veterinary time needed to prepare an equine for travel are likely to result in additional costs for owners. Exact costs will vary between vet practices.

There will be no cost for the identification document, where this is needed.

There is no charge for the Export Health Certificate but you’ll need to pay for your vet’s services.

What will the blood testing requirements be?

As a listed country placed in Sanitary Group A, tests would be required for:

  • equine infectious anaemia within 30 days of travel for permanent moves
  • equine infectious anaemia within 90 days of travel for temporary moves under 90 days of equines registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting and competition purposes or any horse with a passport issued by an EU recognised studbook including those that may be resident outside the EU.
  • equine viral arteritis within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet other specific vaccination requirements specified in the Model Health Certificate. These can be found in EU Commission Implementing Regulation 2018/659.

How often will a blood test be required? Every time a horse moves, annually etc.?

This will depend upon the blood test. Tests must be taken within a certain number of days of travel, dependent on the type of move being undertaken. If an equine travels from the UK to the EU again within this time period, tests will not need to be re-taken. Blood samples must be sent to APHA Weybridge for testing.

What are the turn-around times for testing? What has been done to ensure enough resource is in place to process tests?

APHA has undertaken recruitment to ensure that sufficient resource is in place to maintain current testing times for EVA and EIA, as well as the additional diseases that might need to be tested for should the UK be assigned to sanitary group B. APHA Weybridge will  endeavour to put all submissions up to test on the next available test run.   

The maximum turnaround time for EVA testing is 12 working days and for the current EIA test (Coggins test) the maximum turnaround time is 5 working days. These maximum times are to allow for re-testing where necessary. 

When should I consult my vet to start preparations?

It is advised that you contact a vet at least six weeks before you intend to move your equine to the EU to allow sufficient time to prepare.

Do I need to book an Official Vet to carry out the blood tests?

No. Sampling can be carried out by any qualified veterinarian but blood samples must be sent to the APHA laboratory in Weybridge for analysis. Only an Official Vet can authorise your equine for travel and issue the documentation needed for travel.

Will equines that had previously been moved under the TPA need to enter via a Border Inspection Post?

The rules for entry into the EU are set by the European Commission and applied by the receiving member state. EU law currently provides that equines coming from third countries must come through an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP). You may wish to consult the authorities in the receiving country for further information about entry into the European Union.

Will I need to go through a BIP to come back in to the UK?

Equines originating in the EU travelling directly to the UK (or returning to the UK directly from the EU) will not need to enter the UK via a border inspection post.

Do the isolation requirements outlined on Gov.uk mean that my horse shouldn’t compete ahead of a move to the EU?

In order to comply with pre-export isolation requirements for permanent exports or the temporary export of unregistered horses, owners will need to ensure that their equine is kept apart from other equines not of an equivalent health status for 30 days before export.

Owners are unlikely to be able to know with any certainty whether other equines attending a competition are of equivalent health status or not. You should therefore avoid these situations to ensure that isolation requirements are met and an export health certificate can be issued.

These requirements do not need to be met to temporarily export a horse for less than 90 days for equines registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting or competition purposes or for any horse with a passport issued by an EU recognised studbook, including those that may be resident outside of the EU.

What will happen if the UK agrees a deal with the EU?

If the UK agrees a deal with the EU, then the process for moving equines from the UK to the EU will depend on the terms of the deal.

Will I need to pay any additional tariffs? What about VAT?

The Department for International Trade has published draft information on the tariffs that will be levied on imports from the EU in the event of no deal. You should consult the HMRC guidance for exporters for information on other changes to process such as VAT.

How do I get an Export Health Certificate?

The EHC will replace the Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) for exports to EU countries.

Before an EHC can be issued, equines will need to have been tested and found free of certain disease (see above).

EHC’s can only be issued for equines being exported from a registered equine premises. For details on how to register your equine premises visit the link below:

For full details on Export Health Certificates and guidance on using the DAERA Export Certification Online (DECOL) system to apply for an EHC visit the link below:

What documentation do I need for onward travel in the EU?

For each journey the Export Health Certificate should clearly show the equine’s country of destination if this is different to the country of entry.

What is an Official Veterinarian / Authorised Veterinary Inspector and why must I use their services?

Official Veterinarian (OV) is the term used to describe veterinarians who perform work on behalf of the governments. In Northern Ireland, an Authorised Veterinary Inspector (AVI) is a private practice vet who performs work on behalf of government. EU law requires that OV’s/AVI’s sign export health certificates to authorise that the relevant animal health requirements have been met ahead of export. OV’s/AVI’s are authorised by the Government for the specific work they undertake on its behalf.

You should identify an equine approved AVI in your area who can advise you on specific requirements to allow for certification and provide you with the certification. Your local equine veterinary practitioner or DAERA Direct Office will be able to advise you on how to identify a suitable AVI. 

Will I need a Government issued equine ID document and, if so, how do I get this Government ID document?

Equines registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting or competition purposes and any horse with a passport issued by an EU recognised studbook, including those that may be resident outside of the EU will be classified as registered for the purposes of export health certification.  These equines will be able to travel using existing industry issued ID documents

Some equines will require a Government issued ID each time they move from the UK to the EU, including moves to Ireland. This will change if the EU recognises the UK’s studbooks.

You will apply for your Government issued ID from DAERA at the same time as your export health certificate. Details of this process are available on the link below:

Will the Government ID document replace existing equine passports?

No. All equines in the UK will still be required to have the equine passport, as now for domestic identification purposes.

Some equines will also need a Government ID document in order to travel to the EU. Those equines requiring Government issued ID will be required to travel to the EU with both this document and their equine passport.

Has the EU recognised the UK’s studbooks? Does this change which equines need a Government issued ID?

We do not currently anticipate that the UK’s studbooks will be recognised immediately in the absence of a deal following exit. If they are, equines in these studbooks will not require a Government issued ID for moves to the EU.

What about Export Health Certificates?

The EU has specific Export Health Certificates for ‘registered horses’. These certificates have less onerous requirements than those for unregistered equines.

At the moment, only horses registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting and competition purposes and any horse with a passport issued by an EU recognised studbook, including those that may be resident outside of the EU will be classified as registered for the purposes of export health certification. If the EU recognises the UK’s studbooks, horses in these studbooks would become eligible to use the EHCs for ‘registered horses’ and benefit from the less onerous requirements.

What about BIPs?

EU BIPs are approved separately for registered equines and unregistered equines (classified as ungulates). Until the EU recognises the UK’s studbooks, equines in UK studbooks will not be able to utilise BIPs solely approved for registered equines.

The rules for entry into the EU are set by the European Commission and applied by the receiving member state. You may wish to consult the authorities in the receiving country for further information about entry into the European Union.

Will horses with passports issued by studbooks in the EU still count as registered for the above purposes?

Yes, if a horse holds a passport issued by a recognised studbook in an EU country (e.g. Weatherbys Ireland) it will be conceded as registered by the EU and can follow the same rules as a UK horse registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting or competition purposes (or a horse in a UK studbook should these be granted EU recognition).

I’m authorised to transport livestock – what do I need to do to continue to transport equines to the EU following a No Deal exit?

The EU will no longer recognise specific transport authorisations issued in the UK that may be required for transporting live animals. Transporters wishing to move live animals from the UK to the EU will need to appoint a representative within an EU country and apply to their relevant government department to obtain a valid Transporter Authorisation, Certificate of Competence, Vehicle Approval Certificate and, where necessary, a Journey Log.

Journey logs will need to be obtained from the EU country that is the initial point of entry into the EU for export.

The rules for entry into the EU are set by the European Commission and applied by the receiving member state. EU law currently provides that equines coming from third countries must come through an approved Border Inspection Post (BIP). You may wish to consult the authorities in the receiving country for further information about entry into the European Union.

UK-issued transport documentation will remain valid for transport within the UK only.

What are the different elements of welfare documentation and how long are they valid for?

Currently, when transporting equines within the EU, transporters are required to hold the following documentation:

  • Valid Transporter Authorisation (Renewed every 5 years)
  • Valid Certificate of Competence (Valid for life)
  • Valid Vehicle Authorisation (Renewed every 5 years)
  • Have logged a ‘Journey log’ (Required for every international movement but not for registered horses)

Vehicle Authorisations and Driver Certificates of Competence need to be obtained before a transporter is issued with an Authorisation.

In January 2018, the European Commission confirmed that in the event of a No Deal scenario when the UK exits the EU, they will no longer accept Transporter Authorisation, Certificates of Competence or Vehicle Approval Certificates issued by the UK authority.

Any transporter wishing to transport live animals into the EU will need to obtain new transport documentation issued by one of the EU27 Member States, which will then be valid in all Member States’ territories. The length of time it will take to obtain authorisations will vary between Member States though in the UK a fully completed application is processed within 10 days.

UK transporters wishing to transport live animals in the EU will need to appoint a representative within an EU country and apply to their relevant government department to obtain a valid Transporter Authorisation, Certificate of Competence, Vehicle Approval Certificate and, where necessary, a Journey Log.

If Journey logs are required, they may need to be obtained from DAERA and the EU country that is the initial point of entry into the EU for export.

UK-issued transport documentation will remain valid for transport within the UK only.

Are authorisations required for non-commercial movements?

No, but commercial movements are broadly defined. If the activity being undertaken involves any direct or indirect financial activity then an authorisation is likely to be required.

What other arrangements do we need to have in place for staff to accompany horses to the EU or in transit?

You should consult the latest information published by HMRC for detail on the changes to travel for individuals in the event of No Deal.

Will my current UK issued transport documentation still be valid for transport within the UK?

Yes. UK issued transport documentation will still be valid for transport within the UK.

So do I need two sets of documentation?

Yes – UK issued documentation will be valid for transport within the UK only. For exporting live animals to the EU, you will need to obtain additional documentation which is valid for transport within the EU.

Does my vehicle need to be registered in an EU member state to be granted vehicle authorisation in that member state?

It is not a requirement of Council Regulation EC No 1/2005 for vehicles to be registered in a particular EU member state in order to obtain a Vehicle Approval Certificate in that member state. We suggest though that you discuss your application with the relevant member state in advance to obtain any necessary advice and guidance.   

What changes will there be for importing equines to the UK from the EU?

The rules relating to the import of equines from the EU to the UK will not change in principle as a result of no deal. For horses which currently enter the UK from France using a Commercial Document (DOCOM) or travel from Ireland without any animal health documentation, there would be no immediate change to the current entry documentation. Registered horses travelling from the EU will also continue to be able to do so using health attestations.

Equines originating in the EU will not have to enter the UK via a Border Inspection Post

The process for notifying DAERA of imports will change, however. Notification will still be required for those equines that currently require it – e.g. those travelling with ITAHCs or DOCOMs. You can find out more about this at the link below:

If I am bringing in a registered horse from Ireland or France to the UK for racing or competition and wish to return it to the EU easily, am I best off obtaining a veterinary attestation?

Yes. If a registered horse from the EU is imported using documentation that proves when it left the EU, it will be able to utilise the specific export health certificate for re-entry into the union. This precludes the need for blood tests, residency or isolation. Whilst these horses are eligible for entry without documentation (or with a DOCOM if coming from France) without a veterinary attestation they won’t be able to make benefit of this simplified return process. You can find out more about this at the link below:

What about customs processes for imports?

Importers will also need to comply with UK customs procedures. In some cases importers may want to register for simplified import procedures. Information from HMRC on customs procedures in the event of a no deal exit from the EU are available at the link below:

Owners regularly moving the same equine between the UK and EU may wish to consider applying for an ATA Carnet to further streamline customs procedures. More information is available at the GOV.uk link above.

What will happen to the Tripartite Agreement (TPA) when the UK leaves the EU?

The UK will no longer be a party to the Tripartite Agreement (TPA) when we leave the EU. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal then all equines being moved to the EU will need to meet the same requirements in order to travel.

How will the UK be able to negotiate a replacement for the TPA once we leave the EU?

Government are working closely with the equine industry to develop a proposition for a longer term replacement for the TPA, which would need to be agreed by the European Commission and the Member States as part of ongoing negotiations to refresh EU animal health legislation.

Does the High Health Status (HHS) proposal not mean that these processes – blood tests, residency and isolation etc. – will not apply to horses that currently move under the TPA?

No. HHS is an industry led proposal of which Government is supportive. It’s for the EU to decide whether to accept the proposal or not but in any event it will not come in on day one. Once we leave the EU, all equines will have to follow the same processes, regardless of the EU country to which they are travelling.

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