The new standards include; that an immediately-searchable, fully computerised database must be held by each organisation, that passports must be secured in such a way that they are indivisible, and that any changes to passports should be correctly documented, stamped with the horses Unique Equine Life Number (UELN), and bound in accordance with section 3.3.2 of the guidelines.
Debbie Elkins, from Pet ID Equine commented “The new passport system should make it easier for everyone involved but trading standards needs to enforce the regulations more. We have improved our passports with secure rivets and also vets can now search a microchip on our website to see if the equine already holds a Pet ID Equine passport”
Defra recognises that there is still some ongoing work to do, but feel that this document represents "a big step in the right direction towards strengthening the horse passports regime" and will now work towards getting an audit programme set up to help ensure that these standards are being met.
The document, which can be viewed at http://www.beva.org.uk/_uploads/documents/131129-minimum-operating-standards-for-pios-2-.pdf was prepared in partnership with approved PIOs, the Food Standards Agency, Local Authorities and the Equine Sector Council Steering Group. These standards will take effect from 1st February 2014 for all UK based organisations.