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Equine Microchipping for Every foal Born After 1 July 2009

Any equine foal born after 1 July 2009 will have to be microchipped, under European-wide regulations finally approved last week - this will apply to horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.

While microchipping has been compulsory for foals in the Thoroughbred breeding industry since 1999, proposals to introduce compulsory microchipping for all equines have been debated for years (see timeline), and have been warmly welcomed by the equestrian industry.

The British Horse Society has always supported compulsory microchipping.

Welfare executive Lee Hackett said: `It might seem like a big step, but it`s an important one, and will help deal with some of the problems people have been experiencing with passports.`

The regulations apply to foals of all equines Older horses will not have to be microchipped. They also allow countries to approve an alternative permanent method of identification to the microchip where necessary.

Like passports, microchips cost 25-35 each, and are inserted into the horse`s neck by a vet. Special passport exemptions already apply to feral ponies. Those living in the New Forest and on Dartmoor, for example, are not required to have a passport until they are sold on. It may be that this derogation might apply for microchipping, too.

A Defra spokesman said a full consultation will now be held with the horse industry to work out how the legislation can be best applied.

Added on: 17 Mar 2008

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