Equine databases across the EU

3 June 2013    
Diane Dodds (NI) 

In light of the horsemeat scandal which recently engulfed many EU Member States and raised questions as to the traceability of horses, the use of equine databases to record the movement of animals has become ever more important.

In this context, can the Commission please outline:

Which Member States currently operate a government-funded equine database to record the movement of horses within their jurisdictions?

What funding, in present terms and in the past, has the EU allotted to equine databases, both private and public, across EU Member States?

Whether EU funding will be made available in the future to invest in the design and administration of equine databases across Member States?

17 July 2013    
Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

According to EC law, a national central database for horse passports is optional(1).

Following an inquiry within the framework of the action plan to address horse meat issues, Greece, Sweden and the UK have no central database, Cyprus and Finland have a single database for registered equidae and equidae for breeding and production respectively and Ireland is developing its central database. All other Member States have informed the Commission about the operation of a central database.

In accordance with Article 21 of Regulation (EC) No 504/2008, all central databases record the issuing of passports. Moreover, some of them require notifying the change of ownership. However, in the absence of a legal base in Union law, none of them records the movement of equidae.

The Commission has not provided any financial support to the establishment of existing central databases and under the current financial framework there are no plans to make such co-financing available to Member States.

(1)    Article 23 of Commission Regulation (EC) No 504/2008 of 6 June 2008 implementing Council Directives 90/426/EEC and 90/427/EEC as regards methods for the identification of equidae (OJ L 149, 7.6.2008, p. 3).