UK Racing issues Brexit travel warning as transition period ends

UK racing stakeholders have been warned to prepare for ‘significant changes’ to equine travel arrangements between the UK and EU, irrespective of whether the government can secure a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from 1 January 2021.

The warning was issued by the ‘Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group’ which leads racing’s preparations for the UK’s departure from the European Union.

As stands, the steering group has advised its members not to transfer horses to and from the EU ‘unless absolutely necessary for at least the first two weeks of 2021’.

Though hopeful that the UK will secure its FTA, racing leadership has warned the government that the sport and its thoroughbred stakeholders require confirmation on a number of matters still pending.

The government has been urged to clarify the ‘UK’s status as a third country’ and how it will impact the listing of animal health purposes following the end of the transition period, with thoroughbred transporters requiring authorisations to transfers animals across Europe, and EU transporters to operate within the UK.

As the transition period ends, UK racing will require a recognition of ‘general stud rights’, to identify thoroughbreds and allow the movement of registered horses.

The steering group has warned that all racing stakeholders to expect ‘additional friction’ in the movement of thoroughbreds through key ports from 1 January.

Should an FTA be secured, racing will require the government to provide specific arrangements on equine health rules for travel, as well as a replacement for the current ‘Tripartite Agreement‘ – originally agreed between France and Ireland.

Brexit Steering Group chair Julian Richmond Watson said: “We know that some people want to make plans for the New Year, but the picture will remain unclear until we know the terms of any new agreements between Britain and the EU.

“Our message right now is ‘Stand By, Change is Coming’. We would ask participants to keep up to date with the latest information regularly via the Brexit page on and await direct communication from their membership body once we know the details.

“We continue to work closely with Defra and all other relevant UK government departments, who are well-informed about the needs of the racing and breeding industries. We are also in regular contact with our counterparts in Ireland and France and other EU jurisdictions.”

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