Horse Passports

Everything you need to know about your horse's passport

As of 2005, it became a legal requirement in the UK for all horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, (and zebras!), regardless of age or status, to have a valid identification passport, even if the animals never leave their field.

Keeping up to date with legislation regarding passports can be tricky, so we’ve summarised the key points below. Please feel free to contact us at the practice if there are any further questions or concerns you might have.

  • Passports serve as a means of accurately identifying each animal to limit the risk of stolen animals being sold and to protect the human food chain by ensuring that animals treated with certain medications are not slaughtered for human consumption. When kept up to date, passports also document useful information such as ownership details, castration date (if applicable), and vaccinations performed.

  • Foals must have a passport either by 6 months of age or before the 30th of November in the year they were born, whichever date occurs later. Passports should be presented to the vet at each visit and must always be kept with your horse. It is illegal to sell, export, compete, breed, transport, or slaughter horses without a valid passport present.

  • When buying a new horse, contact should be made with the relevant passport issuing organisation within 30 days to arrange a change of ownership. If you obtain a horse without a passport, please contact the practice.

  • At the difficult time when a horse has reached the end of their life, the passport should be returned to the relevant passport issuing organisation within 30 days of their passing.

  • Many owners are unaware that horses are considered a food-producing animal and there is a section (often section IX) in the passport which declares whether the horse is to be included or excluded from entering the food chain. This can be understandably distressing to hear, but horses can be easily excluded from entering the food chain by a signature from the owner or a representative of the owner (including vets). Once the exclusion has been signed, it is permanent and can never be reversed. Permanent exclusion means there are no restrictions on veterinary treatment or medications.


    If you elect to include your horse into the food chain, veterinary treatment is restricted as certain medications such as Danilon, Equipalazone, and Relaquine can be harmful to human health. Please contact the practice if you have any further questions about this.

  • Failure to passport your horse in accordance with the legislation can result in a fine of up to £5,000.

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