Important changes as EU Animal Health Law comes into force

Thursday, 22 April 2021

The European Union Animal Health Law (AHL) came into force yesterday, 21 April 2021, and extensive lobbying by the specially convened International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) Task Force has been instrumental in a number of key provisions either being removed or their implementation delayed.

Two key changes in the legislation are an extension for the use of the current Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for horse movement until August 2021, and the removal of the proposed 30-day isolation period prior to transportation of horses from the United Kingdom (UK) to EU Member States (MSs) and Northern Ireland. In addition, UK horses will no longer be required to do a 30-day isolation period prior to transportation to an EU MSs or Northern Ireland.

The current EHCs remain valid until 20 August 2021, meaning that existing certificates can continue to be used until that time. The new EHCs must be used for all horses from 21 August 2021 onwards, but the provision requiring registration of a horse’s precise location while in the EU will be delayed until January 2022.

Horses originating from the UK that are registered with the FEI, a recognised UK organisation or studbook, will no longer be required to do a 30-day pre-export isolation, but will instead need to be under veterinary supervision for 30 days.

Work on the draft legal provision for digital passports, another key proposal from the IHSC Task Force for Brexit and EU Animal Health Law, is ongoing with the European Commission.

“We really welcome this news from the European Commission and DEFRA, as these were the top of the Task Force’s priority list and we had been pushing hard for them on behalf of the entire European equine industry”, the IHSC Task Force Chair Dr Göran Akerström said. “We really appreciate that our requests have not just been listened to, but acted upon and this will make a huge difference to the industry as a whole.

“The delay in implementation of the new Export Health Certificates until August will give everyone time to put everything in place and help to minimise the delays for horses travelling between EU Member States and the UK. There was already a derogation from the 30-day isolation period in place for competition horses, but this has now been extended to all registered horses and will be warmly welcomed, particularly by the Thoroughbred breeding industry.”

The IHSC Task Force is continuing to work closely with the Ministries in both the UK and EU Member States in order to agree similar conditions for the transportation of high-health horses that existed under the previous Tripartite Agreement between France, Britain and Ireland.