Below is the latest information from DEFRA re travelling to Europe (going to shows, import/export).  It is unedited and therefore the complete letter that we recently received, and have been asked to pass onto all our members.  It is lengthy, but if you are planning to travel your horse then please read it all! 

Date: 19th September 2019 

Dear Sir/Madam, 

Guidance for passport issuing organisations regarding exporting horses and other equines between the UK and the EU after Brexit 

I am writing to provide the latest information about the process for moving equines between the UK to the EU after Brexit on 31st October 2019. We wrote to you in February 2019 outlining how processes might change. This letter provides the latest guidance. We will provide you with a further update closer to 31st October. 

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal 

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, whether owners will be able to move equines after 31st October 2019 depends on whether the EU lists the UK as a third country for the export of equines. 

Exactly what requirements owners will need to meet will depend on the sanitary group (health status category) the EU gives the UK as part of the listing process. 

If the UK is listed, equine owners will need to do the following to continue to be able to export. Further guidance on the requirements follows below: 

● to get equines tested for certain diseases, depending on the UK’s sanitary group 

● to meet isolation and residency requirements 

● to apply for an export health certificate (EHC) 

● to check hey have the correct equine identification (ID) documents 

● to check if they need an export welfare declaration 

As above, the type and level of health checks required would depend on the sanitary group the UK is placed in by the EU Commission as a listed third country but they are likely to include blood tests within 30 days or less prior to travelling. 

In accordance with current EU legislation, all equines would also be required to enter the EU via a Border Inspection Post (BIP). 

The EU provided the UK with listed status and placed us in the least onerous sanitary group, A, ahead of a potential No Deal exit on 12th April 2019. A further vote of the relevant EU committee is required to list the UK ahead of a 31st October No Deal, but we expect that we will continue to meet the animal health requirements for listing. 

If the EU does not list the UK as a third country, there will be no movement of equines to the EU. 

Documentation required 

All equines travelling from the UK to the EU would need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) signed by an official vet for each journey to the EU. This would replace the current Intra Trade Animal Health Certificate (ITAHC) or DOCOM (Commercial Document) issued for travel. 

Equines would need to have been tested for the relevant diseases before starting the process to obtain an EHC, as the official vet will need this information to certify an equine for travel. 

Equines would also need a Government issued ID document to travel, including for moves to Ireland, unless they are currently registered with a national branch of an international organisation for sporting or competition purposes. This document would be in addition to the EHC but would not replace the current equine passport, which would still be a requirement for domestic identification purposes and will need to accompany all equines moving to the EU. The role of PIOs will therefore not change as a result of Brexit. 

Disease testing 

Before an equine can be certified for travel and be issued an EHC, it will need to be tested for the absence of certain diseases. 

Below are the blood test requirements for sanitary group A. The EU listed the UK in sanitary group A in anticipation of Brexit on 12th April. Whilst a further vote of the relevant EU committee on the UK’s listed status ahead of Brexit on 31st October is needed, we are confident that the UK will continue to meet the animal health requirements for listing in sanitary group A. 

If the UK is put in sanitary group A, equines will need to be tested for: 

 equine infectious anaemia within 30 days prior to travel for permanent moves 

 equine infectious anaemia within 90 days prior to travel for temporary moves (moves of under 90 days of equines registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting and competition purposes) 

 equine viral arteritis within 21 days prior to travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet the vaccination requirements as laid out in the Export Health Certificate. 

Residency requirements 

If the UK is put in sanitary group A owners will need to ensure that equines meet certain residency and isolation requirements, depending on the type of move they are undertaking. 

To export a horse registered with a national branch of an international body for sporting or competition purposes for under 90 days, it will need to have been resident on a UK holding under veterinary supervision, in a country with a similar health status or in an EU member state for 40 days prior to export. 

For permanent exports, or temporary exports of other equines, equines must be resident on a UK holding under veterinary supervision, or in a country with a similar health status: 

 for 90 days 

 since birth if the animal is less than 90 days old 

 since entry to the UK if the animal was imported directly from the EU fewer than 90 days before export 

For permanent exports, or exports of other equines, equines must also meet isolation requirements. They should be kept separate from other equines not of the equivalent health status (i.e. those that cannot be shown to meet the disease testing requirements for export) for 30 days prior to export. 

In the unlikely event that the UK is put in a sanitary group other than A different testing, residency and isolation requirements may apply. In this scenario we will issue further guidance if needed. An official vet with the appropriate authorisation must confirm these requirements have been met before export. 

Other requirements 

In accordance with current EU legislation, all equines would also be required to enter the EU via a Border Inspection Post (BIP), meaning that this will need to be factored into transport routes and journey times. EU BIPs are approved separately for registered equines and unregistered equines (classified as ungulates). Owners should ensure that the BIP they intend to travel via is approved for the equine they are transporting. 

In anticipation of Brexit on 12th April, the EU approved a series of BIPs for both registered and unregistered equines. These included BIPs at Calais, Eurotunnel. 

Dublin Port and Rosslare. Approval of these BIPs will need to be re-granted by the EU ahead of Brexit on 31st October. 

The process for reviewing and approving BIPs is ongoing and it is advisable to regularly check the latest list of approved BIPs which is available here. 

EU Recognition of UK Studbooks 

If you are a breed society, you will have received a request for information from Defra regarding the recognition of your studbook or pedigree register by the EU. 

The UK has applied to the EU for recognition of the UK’s studbooks but we are advising owners and businesses to plan on the basis that recognition won’t be granted ahead of 31st October. 

Should some, or all, of the UK’s studbooks be recognised by the EU prior to or after day one, horses registered in those studbooks will be able to follow the rules outlined above for horses registered with national branches of international bodies for sporting or competition purposes when moving to the EU for less than 90 days. They will not require a UK Government Issued ID document to move to the EU. They will also be able to travel via border inspection posts that are specifically approved for registered equines, as opposed to BIPs for unregistered equines (classified as ungulates). 

This means owners should assume they need to meet the longer residency requirements and additional isolation requirements outlined above when planning any moves of a horse registered in a UK studbook if they want to be able to move after 31st October. 

Should the position on studbook recognition change we will provide a further update. 

Imports 

No immediate changes will be made to the rules relating to the import of equines from the EU to the UK in principle in the event of a No Deal Brexit on 31st October. 

For horses which currently enter the UK from France using a DOCOM, or travel from Ireland without any animal health documentation, there will be no immediate change to the current entry documentation in the event of a No Deal. 

The UK will also continue to accept veterinary attestations for registered equines moving from the EU to the UK. 

The EU has made clear that, should EU owners wish to benefit from streamlined re-entry processes for EU registered horses that have been in the UK for less than 30 days for the purposes of racing or competition, they will need animal health documentation proving when then animal left the EU. EU owners may therefore 

benefit from using a veterinary attestation for the purposes of import, even where the UK will not require them to do so. 

Equines imported directly from the EU to the UK will not have to enter the UK via a Border Inspection Post. 

Processes for notification of imports to APHA (or DAERA) will change, however. More details are available here. 

Customs 

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 here. 

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 here. 

If a deal is agreed 

If a deal is agreed between the UK and the EU and an implementation period is confirmed, there will be no immediate changes to the process for moving equines from the UK to the EU. 

When will equine owners need to start to prepare? 

We have begun issuing guidance to equine owners and related businesses in advance of 31st October 2019, in order to help preparations for Brexit over the coming weeks. 

We advise equine owners to consult a vet at least six weeks in advance of when they wish to move their equine to the EU to begin preparations. 

The latest guidance is available on gov.uk. I trust you will find this information useful in order to be able to respond to queries from your clients.