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European Commission - Press release

Commission urges France to comply with EU rules on identification of horses

BRUSSELS, 24 November 2011 - The Commission urges France to allow horse owners to choose a passport for registered equidae (family of animals such as horses, donkeys, zebras, etc.), which is issued by a stud book in another EU Member State for horses born in France.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 504/2008 lays down the EU system for the identification of equidae and foresees issuing a single lifetime identification document ("passport"). The passport is issued by the breeding organisations and associations, which are approved in accordance with EU law.

EU legislation allows the owner of registered equidae to choose freely the studbook of the breed of the animal in which it would be entered, even if this stud book is in another Member State.

French legislation provides the exclusive right to the competent French body, l'Institut français du cheval et de l'équitation, to issue passports for horses born in France, even if those horses are registered in a stud book in another Member State.

As a consequence, the French authorities are precluding owners of registered equidae born in France from choosing the passport issued by a stud book in another Member State.

The Commission's request to France takes the form of a "Reasoned Opinion" under EU infringement proceedings.

Through this "Reasoned Opinion," the Commission formally asks France to take action to comply with EU law within a period of two months. Subsequently, the Commission may decide to refer France to the European Court of Justice, if action to ensure compliance is not taken.

For more information on the infringement procedure, please see: MEMO/11/824

For more information on trade and imports of equidae, please visit:

Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

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