This project is arranged by the Department of Breeding, in cooperation with the IFCE (L’Institut Français du Cheval et de l’Équitation) in France, and led by Emilie Goulas from the IFCE.
Over the years, WHIRDEC has become an important forum for the exchange of information where studbooks can find out about and discuss any aspect of legislation concerning the registration and identification of horses. In recent years, it has become particularly important in helping WBFSH member studbooks to navigate new animal health law regulations from the European Union that do not only affect EU members, but also anybody wishing to trade with the EU.
The meetings are regularly attended by studbook managers, representatives from national federations, experts on EU legislation, central database managers and government representatives. Topics of discussion range from information on EU legislation, horse identification and traceability of equidae and germinal products, horse registration in central databases and data exchanges.
For this purpose, we usually meet at least once a year and stay in regular email contact with our members to provide ongoing information about legislative changes, and to provide further feedback on questions raised during our meetings.
With the implementation of the EU Animal Health Law on 21 April 2021, a special virtual WHIRDEC meeting was organised to give an overview of the future EU legislation and its impacts on the horse industry.
110 participants signed up to attend the meeting which provided an excellent opportunity to learn about the impact and finer details of the AHL implementation "straight from the horse’s mouth", and Dr. A Füssel from the EU Commission presented an interesting overview and highly valuable insights, explaining that the Implementing Regulation is to be understood within the context of the other levels of the regulation, which were explored in turn. He also introduced his future successor, Eva Camara, who will take over from him following his retirement.
The two biggest topics on people’s minds were the ability of EU member state studbooks to continue to issue passports for foals born in other EU member states, and the impact of Brexit.
Dr Füssel explained that under the new health law, EU member state studbooks can continue to issue passports for foals born in other EU member states, provided that they have adhered to the correct process of notification for extension of breeding territory, and are working with the competent authority in that country to ensure that the foals are entered in that country’s central equine database. This came as a relief to many participants, as the wording of Article 22 of the draft implementing regulation had left some open questions on that subject.
Regarding the impact of Brexit, Dr Füssel explained that as third country studbooks, UK studbooks could no longer extend their breeding territories into the EU, and therefore no longer issue passports for foals born in the EU. In future, breeders wishing to register foals with those breed societies will have to do so with EU-based daughter societies.
Due to COVID restrictions, we were unable to meet in 2020. Our previous WHIRDEC meeting took place in Saumur on 17th October 2019.
It was a very constructive and interesting meeting, attended by over 80 delegates.