The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced on 25th June new legislation that will, subject to parliamentary approval, come into force from the 1st October 2018 that requires all domesticated horses, ponies and donkeys to be registered on a Central Equine Database and microchipped by October 2020.  If horse owners do not microchip their horses by October 2020 they could face sanctions from their local authority including a compliance notice and, as a last resort, a fine of up to £200.

Micro-chipping is likely to be available from a reputable vet and can be done during a routine visit for a small fee.  Help for Horses spoke with one of our vets to get their reaction to this news;

“The new law introduced to ensure all equines are microchipped comes into force in October 2020.  We welcome any changes in the law that will improve the welfare of horses and so this has our full support and hopefully this new legislation will go some way towards achieving this.

Whilst previously all horses born since July 2009 had to be chipped now owners of horses of all ages have to comply. The time given before this new law comes into force gives owners ample time to arrange for this very simple procedure to be carried out.

Theoretically it will enable irresponsible owners to be held accountable for sick or straying animals, reduce the number of abandoned horses as well reuniting owners with lost or stolen animals.

All this however is only achievable if the law is enforced and my only concern is on the enforcement issue. Presently the 2009 legislation passed is rarely enforced and so my concerns are that this law will only be effective if local authorities use it. Unfortunately Trading Standards and the Police rarely have the time or resources to enforce such legislation. There is also a small percentage of irresponsible horse owners who will not comply with this law and when challenged will deny ownership of such animals.

I would strongly encourage local authorities to get behind this new law and enforce it and then I think it could make a massive difference to horse welfare across every county”.

If you have any questions about this topic or any horse welfare concerns please get in touch via the contact forms

The full press release from DEFRA can be found here: DEFRA announce horse microchipping legislation