The rules governing the timescale within which equines must be identified are determined at EU level. Commission Implementing Regulation 262/2015 (CR 262/2015), which came into effect on 1 January 2016, lays down the rules governing the identification of equidae. This legislation was transposed into national legislation in Ireland via the European Union (Identification of Equidae) Regulations (S.I. No 62 of 2016)(as amended).
Article 12(1) of CR 262/2015 provides that all equine animals must be identified with a passport no later than 12 months from the date of birth of the animal, and in any event, before moving permanently from the holding of origin.
Proper identification of an equine cannot be established visually. Identification of an equine animal is primarily established through its passport, with the microchip (where required) providing further validation.
Equine passports are issued by Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) approved by my Department. Information available from these organisations suggests that high rates of compliance with the identification rules are being achieved.
Enforcement of equine identification legislation is primarily undertaken by authorised officers throughout my Department's Regional Office network. These officers work closely with their veterinary colleagues across the various Local Authorities and liaise with members of An Garda Síochána and Revenue Commissioners Officials, as required. Authorised officers from my Department engage in checks at sales venues including marts and fairs, as well as at horse slaughter plants and at export points including ports and airports. These compliance checks are on-going and will continue to be undertaken.
My Department is not aware of issues relating to unidentified equines in the north County Cork area.