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MSPs asked to support online equine ID system
The organisations believe the current paper-based system is susceptible to fraud.
The system would make all horses identifiable and traceable.

A coalition of equine organisations has called for Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to support an improved, online equine identification system.

The new process would mean that all horses are more identifiable and traceable, providing real time updates to individual equine records.

The presentation was made at Scottish Parliament by a group of horse organisations, consisting of World Horse Welfare, The British Horse Society and Horsescotland. The group says that the new online system would be important for maintaining health and welfare of Scottish horses.

The group believes that the current paper-based system is too complex, costly and time-consuming, as well as being susceptible to fraud.

It said that the digitalised approach would ensure that the trade or movement of equines across borders would be ‘frictionless’ for those doing so compliantly. However, the group said it would also disrupt attempts to trade smuggled horses.

The ability to make real-time updates to individual equine profiles would also make it easier to actively track horses, ponies and donkeys. This would be vital for managing disease outbreaks, ownership disputes, and instances of straying and theft.

Campaigners spoke to 56 MSPs over the course of three days, at a stand sponsored by Sharon Dowey, MSP for South Scotland.

The call for support comes as a consultation is undertaken in Scotland, which could see cattle identification and traceability become digitalised. The coalition wants MSPs to support a similar move for horses, ponies and donkeys.

Kim Ayling, senior public affairs officer at World Horse Welfare, said “The exhibition in the Scottish Parliament gave us a fantastic opportunity to engage with MSPs from all political parties and representing constituencies from the borders to Orkney.

“We were delighted that almost 50 per cent of the current members of the Scottish Parliament spoke to us about the importance of equine identification to the health and welfare of Scotland’s horses, ponies and donkeys.”

She added: “As a sector we will continue to work together and now need to build on this increased awareness among MSPs to help drive forward an improved equine ID system.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

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NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.