One door to equine disease shut as sector welcomes changes to horse travel arrangements between the UK, Ireland and France
The equine sector has widely welcomed the long-sought changes to the previously controversial Tripartite Agreement (TPA), which effectively allowed the free movement of horses without health checks between the UK, Ireland and France.
From May 2014 the privileges of the TPA will apply only to “high health” horses including Thoroughbred racehorses and breeding stock, and FEI sport horses, going to and from France; furthermore all these movements will be traceable. Movements between the UK and Ireland will remain unchanged due to the two islands’ shared health status.
All other movements of horses between these countries would be required to follow the normal rules when moving between EU countries and must travel with a health certificate issued by a veterinary surgeon.
Louise Kemble of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association said:
“This is excellent news for horses and everyone involved in the horse industry. We applaud Defra for involving the sector so closely in the whole process, and they deserve great credit for negotiating what should be a more effective and enforceable system. We now have a TPA that will serve its original purpose: to allow the free movement of high health horses to competition and breeding. The equine sector looks forward to working with Defra over the next few months on implementing and communicating these changes.”
Roly Owers of World Horse Welfare said:
“This change was badly needed and had been long called for by World Horse Welfare and the wider sector. Quite simply the previous TPA was an open door for equine disease to enter the UK, and there was evidence it was being used to transport vulnerable horses and ponies of a low value between the three countries, sometimes as cover for other illegal activities. This decision, if effectively enforced, will help to prevent the spread of disease and protect thousands of vulnerable horses and ponies from totally unnecessary journeys each year.”
David Mountford of the British Equine Veterinary Association said:
“Equine veterinarians were very concerned about the risks posed by so many horses travelling between countries without health checks. It was a disaster waiting to happen so this change is great news. However the focus now needs to be on the effective implementation of the revised agreement and to communicate this to vets and horse owners across the country.”
The ease of movement of horses without health checks or a way to trace them under the TPA had been a concern in the sector since it was expanded to cover all horses in 2005. Originally designed to allow sport horses ease of transit without veterinary checks, it was rolled out to all horses and ponies in view of the difficulty of enforcement between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
World Horse Welfare’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Jessica Stark on 0207 038 3816 and 07900 994 002 or email
About World Horse Welfare:
Visit the charity’s website here: www.worldhorsewelfare.org/Home
World Horse Welfare (Registered charity no: 206658 and SC038384), is an international horse charity that improves the lives of horses in the UK and worldwide through education, campaigning and hands-on care of horses. Since we were founded in 1927, our whole approach has been practical, based on scientific evidence and our extensive experience, and focused on delivering lasting change across the full spectrum of the horse world.
In the UK our dedicated network of Field Officers investigate and resolve welfare problems, and we run four Rescue and Rehoming Centres where horses in need can receive specialist care, undergo rehabilitation and find loving new homes through our rehoming scheme – the largest of its kind in the UK. Our international training programmes alleviate the suffering of thousands of working horses by providing essential knowledge for horse owning communities in the developing world. We also work tirelessly to change legislation and attitudes to horse welfare through campaigns and education, including our founding campaign to end the suffering endured by the tens of thousands of horses transported long-distance across Europe to slaughter each year. We support the responsible use of hors port, and are an official welfare arm of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and welfare advisors to the British Horseracing Authority.