Minister launches draft passport legislation at
National Equine Forum
Affairs Minister Alun Michael chose last weeks prestigious
National Equine Forum, attended by HRH The Princess Royal, to
launch the draft legislation on the requirement for equine passports.
at the Forum on a government overview of the horse industry,
Mr Michael summarised the draft legislation, which in line with
the European Commission Decision 2000/68/EC, requires all equines
in the UK to have a passport by 31 December 2003. He emphasised
that there would be a three-month consultation period until 30th
June, during which key equestrian organisations were invited to
submit comments, before the document was finalised. Some sections
of the draft gave a number of the 150 Forum attendees cause for
concern. Noted as particularly worrying were the system of equine
identification proposed which was seen to have shortfalls and
also the compulsory and permanent passport declaration on whether
or not horses were destined for entry into the food chain, which
gave no flexibility for amendment should the horse enter new ownership.
highlight of the Forum was a perceptive presentation on the need
to recruit, retain and recognise the worth of world-class grooms,
from former international dressage groom, Lucy Katan. Lucy, who
is now employed by The Blue Cross animal welfare charity, sparked
an animated and supportive debate among the audience with her
forthright recommendation that grooms should be treated as vital
support staff within the World Class programme and with the respect
and conditions they deserve.
National Equine Forum is the only independent conference for the
horse world in the UK. It was founded in 1993 to provide an annual
opportunity for communication in both directions between the grass
roots administration of the horse world and those that influence
decision making in government, industry and research in relation
to horses and ponies.