Minister calls for EU to mirror UK commitment to movement of horses post Brexit

Animal welfare minister David Rutley has called for the EU to reciprocate the UK's commitment on the movement of horses post Brexit as the government on Thursday revealed the latest guidelines for equine travel in a no-deal scenario.

Negotiations between the government and European Commission on securing listed status for the UK continue, but without such status no UK-based horses would be able to travel to the EU after the UK's departure, which is due to take place on March 29.

If listed status is granted, UK-based horses travelling to the EU may require additional blood tests, carried out within 30 days or less prior to travel, and owners will need to consult a vet within six weeks of departure.

A no-deal scenario will have no impact on EU horses travelling to the UK, although could potentially present difficulties for those horses returning to the EU.

Rutley said: "Delivering a negotiated deal with the EU remains the government's top priority, but it is our job to responsibly ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal. This guidance will help businesses and owners prepare for life after March 29 if we do leave without a deal.

"However, it is in the interest of the EU to reciprocate our commitment on the movement of horses. This will ensure horseracing and competition events across the continent can continue to be attended by all of Europe's top equine talent."

An export health certificate will also be required for each horse travelling to the EU and entry will be via a border inspection post, while some horses will require a government-issued travel ID document, in addition to their existing passport.

Julian Richmond Watson, chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, said: "The British thoroughbred racing and breeding industry welcomes publication of this important guidance and will be communicating it to our participants to help them prepare for all potential Brexit negotiation outcomes.

"We fully support the government’s welcome and pragmatic position to allow continued equine movement under current systems from EU member states to the UK in a no-deal scenario."