What you need to know about compulsory microchipping for horses, ponies and donkeys

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The NFU are reminding members that from October 2020 it will be mandatory for all owners to microchip their horses, ponies and donkeys.

On 25 June 2018, the government announced the introduction of a new law which requires all horse owners to microchip their animals by October 2020. With this date fast approaching, the NFU are reminding all horse owners to ensure they are complying with the new rules to avoid penalties. It is important to note all horses, ponies and donkeys must be microchipped including ponies grazing on common land.

If horses are not microchipped by this time, owners could face sanctions from their local authority including a compliance notice or a fine of up to £200. Microchipping can be done by your vet; costs can vary but are typically around £25-30.

Once microchipped the horse will be registered to the new Central Equine Database and owners are legally required to make sure that their animals’ details are kept up-to-date, this can be accessed online via the Digital Stable.

The NFU welcomes the implementation of a more regulated system and hope the new measures will help tackle horse theft, improve equine traceability, animal welfare, and address on-going problems such as fly-grazing.

Fly-grazing is not only a nuisance to farmers and landowners, it can be a huge financial burden and is often linked to poor animal welfare. The Control of Horses Act 2015 came into force in England in May 2015, after being introduced as a private bill by York Outer MP Julian Sturdy and following extensive lobbying by the NFU.

The Act has helped to tackle fly-grazing and the new microchipping measures will significantly support these efforts. This robust enforcement of equine identification will help local authorities and the police to track down the owner and ensure they receive the appropriate punishments.

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