Big changes in animal rights with EU Animal Health Law

Big changes in animal rights with EU Animal Health Law

Apr 27, 2021

On the 21st of April 2021, the European Union Animal Health Law (AHL) came into force. After extensive lobbying by the International Horse Sports Confederation Task Force (IHSC), this brings important changes to the equestrian community. 

The most important changes in the legislation are, amongst others, an extension for the use of the current Export Health Certificates (EHCs) for horse movement until August 2021. Also, the removal of the 30-day isolation period prior to transportation of horses from the UK to EU Member States and Northern Ireland has been approved. 

 

What is the IHSC?

The IHSC is a Task Force created for Brexit and EU Animal Health Law in March 2020 as a the result of a unique collaboration between different associations. It brings together the following federations and associations:

  • Féderation Equestre Internationale (FEI)
  • European Equestrian Federation (EEF)
  • International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA)
  • International Thoroughbred Breeders Federation (ITBF)
  • European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders Association (EFTBA) 

This Task Force works closely with the ministries in the UK and EU Member States to agree similar conditions for the transportation of horses. These conditions already existed under the previous Tripartite Agreement between France, Britain and Ireland.

 

What are Export Health Certificates?

An Export Health Certificate (EHC) is a document that confirms that health standards and regulations have been met. This way, animals can be exported. They need to be completed and signed by an Official Veterinarian and the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) will approve or not the application.

Currently, EHCs remain valid until 20 August 2021. This means existing certificates can still be used until this time. New EHCs will be used for all horses from 21 August 2021 onwards. The provision that requires registration of a horse’s precise location in the EU will be delayed until January 2022.

 

The 30 day isolation period

Horses from the UK that are registered with the FEI will no longer have to do a 30-day pre-export isolation. Instead, they will need to be under veterinary supervision for 30 days.

IHSC Task Force Chair Dr Göran Akerström said, “There was already a derogation from the 30-day isolation period in place for competition horses, but this has now been extended to all registered horses and will be warmly welcomed, particularly by the Thoroughbred breeding industry.”

Also, work for the legal provision for digital passports is another key proposal from the IHSC Task Force for Brexit and EU Animal Health Law. This is ongoing with the European Commission at the moment.


Why is the Animal Health Law so important?

Regulation on transmissible animal diseases (Animal Health Law) began taking form in 2016. Since, it has experienced important changes. It supports the EU livestock sector towards competitiveness and safe EU market of animals. 

Having an Animal Health Law means huge numbers of legal acts are now streamlined into a single law. This makes it simpler and clearer to follow the rules and to enable authorities to focus on key priorities. 

Also, responsibilities are clarified for farmers, vets and people  dealing with animals and there is a greater use of new technologies for animal health activities. This allows better early detection and control of animal disease. 

For example, earlier this year the outbreak of the EHV-1 virus meant many horse competitions had to be cancelled or postponed. The Animal Health Law allows authorities to take the right measures to solve these kinds of issues. 


In Horse TV we have created an infographic to summarise this information. If you want, you can download it in PDF format HERE. Don’t forget to share and spread the word! 

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