The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has signed into law, a new order to require anyone who is the owner/person in charge of any premises in which horses or other equines (such as donkeys, ponies etc) are kept to register their premises with the Department. This Order completes the Department’s commitment to have a full register of premises on which all farmed animals are kept. Currently premises where cattle, sheep, pigs or poultry are kept must be registered.
The Minister explained that the purpose of registration is simply to ensure that the Department has a full picture of where horses are located, so that it can alert owners quickly in the event of a contagious disease outbreak, quickly implement disease control measures and also give advice on appropriate precautionary, containment and control measures as soon as possible.
This legislation applies to all premises where horses and other equines, regardless of their number or age, are kept and complements the recently enforced EU requirement that all horses, ponies and donkeys born after 1 July 2009 have passports with a corresponding microchip/transponder and a universal equine life number (UELN).
The owners/persons in charge of premises where horses are kept will be required to maintain records to assist the Department in tracing horses, should a disease outbreak occur. The scale of record keeping required depends on the premises. For example, premises where horses are kept on a temporary basis (studs, shows, sales, farriers, vets etc) must record the date, UELN, name, address and the premises of origin ID of the animals brought onto their premises. Premises where there is permanent residency would be required to maintain records of 'permanent' movements off the premises of any resident equine being transferred to another premises on a permanent basis or similarly permanent movements onto the premises - to include date, UELN and premises ID to/from which the equine has moved.
Minister Coveney said he was looking forward to full co-operation in the new registration process. "This initiative represents a very important step in maintaining our excellent record in equine health and will further enhance our record as the top producer in both the thoroughbred and horse sport sectors. Many premises are already keeping good records and this new requirement for registration of premises should not place an undue additional burden.
" Registration is through the local Department's Regional Offices. Application forms on which to register may be obtained from the Department's regional offices or from the Department's Animal Health Division, tel. 01 6072466 or from the Department's website: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/animalwelfare/registrationofpremisesanimals/registrationofhorsepremises/
Registration of Equine Premises
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is an equine premises?
A. This means any premises (with or without land) in which a horse, ass , mule, pony , donkey etc. is kept either on a full-time ‘permanent’ basis (farms etc) or an enterprise (such as shows, sales, gymkhanas, racecourses, hunts, veterinary hospitals, farriers, pounds, studs, fairs etc) to/from which equine movements take place.
Q. What is the purpose of registration?
A. The reason for registering and record keeping is so as to enable the Department to have information on the location of horses and their contacts with other horses in order that in the event of a disease outbreak, owners can be identified and advised of any necessary precautions. A disease outbreak (such as Equine Infectious Anemia) in the national equine herd could have a catastrophic effect on the national equine industry which makes a major contribution to the national economy. By registering your location with the Department, you are making your contribution to protecting the national equine herd.
Q. Who must register?
A. Anyone who owns or has charge of a premises (including land) on which there are equine regardless of whether he or she owns the equines or the premises or the land.
Q. What are the consequences if I decide not to register?
A. From 1 May 2012, it will be a legal requirement that premises where equines are kept be registered with the Department.
Q. Is there a fee? A. No, Registration is free of charge. The purpose of registration is simply to enable the Department to have information on locations of horses and their contacts with other horses in order that in the event of a disease outbreak, owners can be alerted and advised of any necessary precautions. Q. Is registration an annual requirement?
A. No, Registration is once-off. The Department should be notified if the owner/person in charge changes or the premises are no longer used to keep equines so that the details on the register can be changed.
Q. What responsibilities will a registered person have?
A. Registered persons must keep records of the equines on the premises and the movement of equines off and on to the premises. The extent of record keeping will depend on the nature of the business at the premises. For example, owners of premises where a pet pony is kept will simply have to keep a record of the pony initially. Thereafter, any births and purchases /deaths and sales (or other permanent movements off or on to the premises)will need to be recorded. They do not need to record short term (not more than a 24 hour period) movements to shows, farriers etc. Persons in charge of enterprises such as stud farms/shows/sales (where horses from different premises are congregated or gathered ) will have to keep records of the dates of movement on/off and UEL (unique equine label) or passport number of each equine attending . The premises registration number, owner name and address of the horse’s premises of origin or destination will also need to be recorded. These types of premises are already keeping records and the additional record keeping will involve recording of the equine premises registration number of the participating equine. Hunt clubs/events are required to register as their premises their contact address and usual meeting point/showgrounds and will be required to keep a record of equines congregating on the day of the hunt/show. Such organisations might consider it helpful to create a master record in advance to include premises registration numbers of prospective participants. As soon as a premises is registered, it will be given a registration number and information as to what type of records are required for the premises. For example the movement of a horse from a trainer’s yard to a racecourse or gallops and back again does not need to be recorded by the trainer (but would need to be recorded by the racecourse). Similarly the movement of a pony from its owner’s stables to a gymkhana and back again does not need to be recorded by the owner (but does need to be recorded by the Gymkhana organiser). The movement of a hunter from its owner’s farm to the hunt and back again does not need to be recorded by the owner (but does need to be recorded by the hunt organisers). There will also be a requirement to provide information to the Department by way of a census of animals carried out from time to time.
Q. My horses are all identified with a microchip and horse passports. Is this not enough?
A. No. These are separate systems. The horse passport regime is an animal identification system rather than a movement system. The Premises registration concerns the location at which equines are kept and records in respect of horses on those premises for the purposes of trace back in the event of a disease outbreak .
Q. I was registered with an equine herd previously. Do I have to make a new application?
A. The Department has written to all previously registered equine herd owners advising of the new requirements that affect them.
Q. I have a bovine herd no. Will I get a different herd number for horses?
A. No, unless the nominated equine keeper is different from the person who is registered as keeper for the bovine herd in which case, a new herd number will be issued in respect of the equines. In all cases, you should complete the application form indicating that you are already registered with a bovine herd number and indicate the relevant keeper and the number and purpose for which you keep horses. If the nominated keeper is the same as for the existing bovine herd, your herd registration will be updated to include equines.
Q. I am giving my land for the running of events/hunts. Do I have to register?
A. The owners of the meeting point/show grounds/event locations do not have to register. Hunt clubs/event organisers/persons-in-charge are required to register as their premises their contact address and usual meeting point/showgrounds and will be required to keep a record of equines congregating on the day of the hunt/show. Such organisations might consider it helpful to create a master record in advance to include premises registration numbers of prospective participants to avoid having to complete detailed records on the day.
Q. How are records to be kept?
A. The Department is not specifying how (hard or soft copy) records are to be kept. A template will be issued on registration purely as a means of informing which records are required and these forms may be copied and used if convenient. Note: Completed application forms should be returned to the local Regional Office – a full list of the regional offices is available at www.agriculture.gov.ie/contact/localoffices. Further info on www.agriculture.ie