A DEFRA review of the existing system for issuing horse passports may lead to a cut in the number of passport issuing organisations, claims equine welfare charity The Horse Trust.

A DEFRA review of the existing system for issuing horse passports may lead to a cut in the number of passport issuing organisations, claims equine welfare charity The Horse Trust.

DEFRA may limit number of passport issuing organisations.According to the charity, a DEFRA spokesman told it on Wednesday (January 26): “DEFRA has been considering how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the current system for issuing horse passports and collecting data, and to maximise the benefits to horse owners, the wider industry and Government.

“Some of the options have included the possibility of developing a new contract for a single Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO), standardising the issue of passports, and delivering a new and improved centralised equine database across the UK. All PIOs were invited to their express views and we are now considering these.”

Approximately 80 organisations are currently authorised to issue horse passports under domestic horse passport regulations.

However, The Horse Trust‘s welfare and education officer Liane Crowther claims the abundance of PIOs has led to a number of problems. She said: “The large number of passport issuing organisations has made regulation a nightmare. Reducing the number of PIOs could help to standardise the type of data collected and improve the accuracy of information passed to the National Equine Database.”

However, she said one downside of the decision was its impact on breed societies. “It’s unfortunate that struggling breed societies will lose a source of income if they are no longer able to issue passports. However, the creation of a simpler system should help us to maximise the benefits from the National Equine Database, and therefore the benefits to horse owners,” she said.

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