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http://www.equiworld.net/uk/ezine/0104/cla.htm

Defra's Horse Passport Pantomime

"Oh no, you don't need a vet to apply for a horse passport" said DEFRA.

"Oh yes you do" DEFRA now says

The Country Land and Business Association has expressed surprise at DEFRA'S about turn on horse passport applications which has thrown horse owners and the equine industry into a state of confusion.

Contrary to advice given to its Passport Issuing Organisations, DEFRA has now announced that owners will no longer be allowed to complete the silhouette section of the horse's passport application by themselves after 31 January unless the horse is microchipped. Instead the silhouette must be completed by either a veterinary surgeon or a person authorised by the passport-issuing organisation (PIO). The CLA's Deputy Regional Director, Sue Harrison, says:" Although many are unhappy with the legislation, by the end of June 2004 all horses, ponies and donkeys will be required by law to have a horse passport. That much is clear.

"Until now we were led to believe that owners could complete the application forms themselves, saving at least some of the cost of this over-the-top European legislation. But now we find out that, you either must pay to have your horse micro-chipped or you must pay a vet to help you fill in the form.

"The application system was supposedly designed to make it easier and less expensive for owners to apply for passports, yet the advice being given on the internet by the various passport issuing organisations is conflicting and now out of date. Not only are we having to pay more for the privilege of keeping Europe happy, but organisations like the CLA are yet again having to use their own resources to communicate Government policy to the public. .