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Equidae born in the Union shall be identified by an identification document (passport) issued in a certain period of time following the date of birth and in any event before leaving permanently the holding of birth.

All equidae within the Union have to be accompanied by an identification document during their movements (on foot and during transport). It shall be issued for the lifetime of the equine animal. In cases of death or loss of the animal, the keeper shall return the identification document to the appropriate issuing body within 30 days of the death or loss of the animal.

The system of the identification of equidae integrates the following elements:

  • a single lifetime identification document (including a narrative and a diagrammatical description)

  • A method to ensure an unequivocal link between the identification document and the equine animal (transponder, alternative methods like DNA profile and retinal scan)

  • Databases maintained by the (passport) issuing bodies recording under a unique identification number the identification details relating to the animal for which an identification document was issued to the keeper who submitted the application for the identification document

  • A central database

Identification and Registration of Equine Animals

Regulation (EU) 2016/429 places importance on traceability and surveillance. Identification and registration of equine animals are part of this concept with quite important changes for operators of equine animals who are in their majority not the typical keepers of agricultural and even more food producing animals.

Regulation (EU) 2016/429 requires operators of establishments on which equine animals are kept on a permanent or temporary basis to register those establishments with the competent authority. The latter will assign a registration number and include certain information, specified in Article 18 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2035 in the computer database established in accordance with Article 109 of Regulation (EU) 2016/429.

Operators of establishments on which equine animals are kept, shall keep records of the equine animals kept on the establishment in accordance with Article 102 of Regulation (EU) 2016/429. The Unique code shall be used to record the identity of the equine animals kept permanently or temporarily on the establishment.

In respect of equine animals the terminus "establishment where equine animals are habitually kept" was introduced in order to take account of the high mobility of equine animals. While no specific definition of "habitual" is provided, Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2035 clarifies that the presence of an equine animal on the establishment for 30 days or more shall be notified by the operator of the establishment to the computer database in accordance with Article 64 of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2035.

Equine animals shall be identified in accordance with Article 109(1)(d) of Regulation (EU) 2016/429, Title IV of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/2035 and in more detail Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/….

However, the new model for the single lifetime identification document will only be required for documents issued on and after 28 January 2022 when Regulation (EU) 2019/6 will be applicable. Until 27 January 2022, the single lifetime identification document shall be issued in the format provided for in Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/262.


Basic directives: Directive 2009/156/EC and Directive 90/427/EEC for registered equidae
Identification methods of equidae: Regulation (EC) 504/2008 and Regulation (EU) 2015/262
Identification document (passport): Decision 93/623/EEC for registred equidae. Decision 2000/68/EC for the equidae for breeding and production
Medicinal Treatment document for the equidae for breeding and production: Decision 2000/68/EC

EU countries information

The information concerns in particular: issuing bodies for equine passports, alternative methods for identity verification, central databases, contact points, time limits for the identification of equidae, derogations for equidae under wild or semi-wild conditions and smart cards.

View the full list of Member States information.

Related links

EU countries Information - Equine

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