Member states of the European Union have reached agreement on a new regulation that will revise existing equine identification legislation. The main new requirement is the compulsory microchipping of foals born after July 1, 2009.
The requirement will not be retroactive for older horses and the regulation does allow for member states to approve alternative methods of identification to the microchip.
Microchips provide an essential link between a horse and its passport, and strengthen horse identification requirements, according to the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. Such unique identification of equidae may also prove useful for disease control and surveillance purposes and for the recovery of lost or stolen horses.
Based in London, DEFRA will be consulting with the horse industry over the implementation of the new requirements.
In the United States, microchipping of pets and other animals remains voluntary except for certain legislation mandating microchipping as a means of identifying animals that may be dangerous.