Compulsory microchipping of horses by October 2020

In 2017, the RSPCA rescued over 1,000 horses, which had either been fly-tipped or dumped, often in poor conditions. From 1st October 2020, it becomes mandatory that all horses are microchipped.

Two years ago, the Government passed a law which made it a legal requirement for all horses to be microchipped and registered on the Central Equine Database by October 2020. All horses born after June 2009 are already legally required to be microchipped; owners of horses born before then were given 24 months to take action.

The overall aim of this new legislation is to give local authorities and the police, the ability to track down the owners of dumped horses, who can then be prosecuted for their actions. It will also help to track down horses which are lost or stolen, improving the chances of them being with their owners.

If you haven’t done so already, speak to your vet who will be able to arrange microchipping your horse(s).

If your horse is already microchipped, it is important that you let the passport issuing organisation (PIO) know, to ensure their passport and microchip are linked. You can check, here.

Jeanette Allen, Chair of The British Horse Council, said: “This is a huge advance for the UK’s horses, ponies and donkeys. It will not only enable irresponsible owners to be held properly accountable for the treatment of their animal, it will also aid in reuniting owners with lost or stolen horses and significantly support the UK’s efforts to protect our equines from disease outbreaks.”

If you have purchased a new horse, you can check the microchip number against the horse on the Central Equine Database; new owners have 30 days to notify the PIO of their details.

Owners who do not microchip their horses, register the microchip on their passport and/or do not register them on the Central Equine Database by 1st October 2020, could face a fine of up to £200.

If you have any questions regarding your insurances or would like a complimentary review, you can contact our Equine Team on 01653 609152 or by emailing You can find out more about our Equine insurance offering, here.

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