The current ‘Tripartite Agreement’ means that although equines must hold a valid Passport to travel between the UK, France and Ireland, there is no need for them to have a health certificate or clinical inspection. The Veterinary industry is now calling for a review to be made, as the current rulings in place could potentially allow serious diseases to enter the UK from border-free Europe.
For instance, a horse that is thought to be entering the UK from France (so not needing a health certificate) could easily have been transported from, say Romania, where Equine Infectious Anaemia is endemic.
As an equine welfare association we are fully aware of the current trend to ‘rescue’ equines from France and import them into the UK. We are concerned that some of these equines are far from fit to undertake that journey through disease, lameness or simply age. They are not seen by a vet prior to being collected by a transporter and are sometimes suffering terribly, even fatally during the journey, or alternatively having to be euthanased within weeks of arriving in the UK. However well-intentioned the ‘rescuers’ may be, horses are often put through far more distress than is necessary. A tightening or change to the existing legislations could mean that then only those equines fit enough to travel and with no clinical signs of disease would be given permission to travel between France, UK and Ireland.