Compulsory microchipping of horses becomes mandatory in the UK
From 1 October 2020, it will be a legal requirement in England for all equines regardless of age (except some semi-wild populations), to be microchipped. You may have seen recent communications from the Scottish and UK Governments, highlighting this. Compulsory microchipping and the development of a national central equine database are two of the changes required as a result of the European regulations which were introduced following the horsemeat scandal.
BEVA, as part of the British Horse Council, has been working with Defra since 2013 to introduce an ID system that is practical, viable, and useful. In reality, creating an effective equine ID system is a journey. The establishment of the Central Equine Database has the potential to be an invaluable tool for vets, owners, disease surveillance, competition organizers and the wider sector as a whole. But, to be able to fulfill this function, the information on the system needs to be correct - and for this to be achieved there needs to be a simple way of owners updating their details. It would be fair to say that we are not quite as far down this particular road as we would have liked to be.
Over the course of the next few months, we will continue to work with Defra through the British Horse Council to help ensure the system is developed to ensure maximum possible engagement, which means having a system that is easy and cost-effective for owners to update.
For sure, there will be teething problems, but we very much hope that these wrinkles will be ironed out by April next year by which time all equines in Great Britain will have to be microchipped, including those born before 2009.