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Parliamentary questions
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25 September 2009
Answer given by Ms Vassiliou on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-4201/2009

Following the adoption of Commission Decision 2000/68(1), all equidae in the EU should be accompanied during movements by an identification document since 1 July 2000.

In order to prevent fraud and double issuing of passports, Commission Regulation (EC) No 504/2008 implementing Council Directives 90/426/EEC and 90/427/EEC as regards methods for the identification of equidae(2) introduced electronic identification of equidae by means of an electronic transponder. This aims at accurate identification as it provides a permanent link between the equidae and its passport.

Article 12 of the regulation provides by way of derogation to electronic identification, that Member States may authorise the identification of equidae by alternative methods, which provide equivalent scientific guarantees and ensure that the identity of the equidae can be verified and effectively prevent the double issuing of the identification documents. Member States intending to make use of this derogation shall make this information available to the Commission, other Member States and the public on a website. The Commission has currently no information that any Member State has already applied this derogation.

The system of equine passports as laid down by Regulation (EC) No 504/2008 contributes to a high animal health status of all equidae in the EU. It will also clearly identify those animals which are not eligible for the food chain if they have been treated with substances which are potentially harmful to humans. On the other hand, this will make it possible to use certain veterinary medicines for equidae whose final destination is not the production of meat for human consumption. Proper individual identification of equidae might also allow derogating from very stringent rules in case of a disease outbreak such as culling of animals. Finally, the system will also help recover and identify stolen and abandoned animals, as well as assist with welfare cases.

Currently, the Commission does not foresee amendments to Regulation (EC) No 504/2008 that would exempt certain categories of equidae from passports and electronic identification.

(1)OJ L 23, 28.1.2001.
(2)OJ L 149, 7.6.2008.

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