Brexit and the movement of horses – what do I need to know?
March 10, 2021
Following the end of the Transition Period here has been a number of changes which affect how horses can travel to and from Northern Ireland. It is important that horse owners are aware of the changes and where to find further information. Since the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland has been subject to the requirements of the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP). This means that Northern Ireland maintains regulatory alignment with the EU on the application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and that European Commission rules on movement and identification of equines continue to apply. Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures are measures to protect humans, animals and plants from diseases, pests, or contaminants.
Procedure for Movement of Equines between Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland (NI)
Following the Transition Period the NIP requires NI to continue to apply the EU law applicable to the animal health conditions governing the movement of equines. A new Bipartite Agreement between NI and the ROI has been agreed by DAERA and DAFM to allow the movement of equines, other than for slaughter, to continue from ROI to NI and NI to ROI from January 1st, 2021 without veterinary certification. Equines must be accompanied by a valid passport issued by a Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO).
How will NI to GB equine movements change?
There are no changes in the way that horses and other equines are moved directly from NI to GB from 1 January 2021. These movements can continue as before.
One piece of additional documentation that will be required for NI resident horses entering GB is evidence of the date of leaving NI. This is applicable to registered equines entering GB for racing/competition or cultural events and returning home. Evidence of the date of leaving the EU/NI is required to avail of the Export Health Certificate that allows re-entry back into the EU/NI within 30 days after temporary export without the need for blood testing.
Equines leaving NI via Belfast Port must check in at the DAERA facility on Duncrue Street (Directional signage has been provided at the port) prior to boarding the ferry. Portal inspection exit checks will be conducted and a DAERA equine exit declaration issued. Please notify the facility prior to arrival by ringing 028-90378555. Equines leaving NI via Larne Port continue to check in at the DAERA facility as per existing processes. Portal inspection exit checks will be conducted and a DAERA equine exit declaration issued.
Horses travelling from NI to GB via Dublin Port
Horses travelling from NI to GB via Dublin Port will need to submit a pre-import notification via the DEFRA import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFF’s). They will also need a DAERA issued export health certificate (EHC). Registered horses will not need to be tested for certain diseases and will not have to meet any isolation or residency requirements before they are imported into GB from NI via ROI. Please plan ahead and contact DAERA in advance if you wish to use this route after 1 January 2021.
Can ROI horses enter GB via NI ports?
Under the new Bipartite agreement ROI horses can enter NI without veterinary certification. Horses moving directly from NI to GB do not require veterinary certification or pre-notification.
Equines travelling from ROI to GB are subject to certain requirements in accordance with the UK Border operating model. It is the responsibility of the transporter to ensure they meet these requirements if transporting equines from ROI to GB via NI.
How will GB – NI equine movements change?
Any equines moving from GB to NI will require an EU Export Health Certificate (EHC) and pre-notification on TRACES NT 24hrs in advance. This includes registered equines returning from racing / competition or cultural event in GB.
In summary for equines:
- Each consignment must be pre-notified on TRACES NT at least 24 hours prior to movement to NI;
- Each consignment must enter via an approved Point of Entry (either Larne or Belfast Port);
- Each consignment must have the right equine identification;
- Consignments will now need to be accompanied by the relevant Export Heath certificate signed by an Official Veterinarian in Great Britain;
- There may be residency and disease testing requirements dependant on whether the equine is returning to NI after a short visit (under 30 days) or is originating from GB or has been resident in GB for over 30 days.
Tests required are:
- equine infectious anaemia – within 90 days before travel for temporary exports (of under 90 days) for registered horses, or within 30 days before travel for permanent exports and all other temporary exports
- equine viral arteritis – within 21 days of travel for uncastrated male equines older than 180 days, unless they meet vaccination requirements
Horses and other equines need to be kept in certain conditions before export.
Before temporary export (less than 90 days) of a registered horse, it will need to be kept on a holding in the UK or a country with a similar health status either:
- for 40 days
- since its entry into the UK, if the animal was imported directly from the EU or a country with a similar health status to the UK less than 40 days before export
- Before permanent export, or temporary export of any other equine, it will need to be kept separate from other equines that do not have equivalent health status for at least 30 days.
The animal also needs kept on a holding in the UK under veterinary supervision, or in a country with similar health status either:
- for 90 days
- since birth if the animal is younger than 90 days old
- since its entry into the UK if the animal was imported directly from the EU less than 90 days before you export
The supervising vet does not need to be an official vet. However, an official vet must confirm that these requirements have been met before export of the equine.
Although there are a number of changes to how we can move equines following the end of the transition process there are a number of useful guides available to make the process as straightforward as possible.
For further information on equine movements please visit the DAERA website https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/equine-end-transition-qas