The Tripartite Agreement in English is here - TPA ENGLISH PDF
The Tripartite Agreement in French is here - TPA FRENCH PDF
The TPA was set up in the 1970s with the intention of facilitating the transport of high value equines between France, Ireland and the UK – specifically that of racehorses, competition horses and bloodstock. It enabled horses to travel without health checks or route plans as long as they were accompanied by a passport. At the time the agreement was drawn up, few horses had passports apart from the three categories mentioned above, however as now all horses are obliged by EU law to have passports, the TPA exempts many more equines from health checks than envisaged in the original agreement.
With the changes in each country’s legislation, and the improvements to road quality and commercial vehicles, we believe that this legislation needs to be reviewed to remain effective and relevant.
It is important that the proposed changes still allow the free travel of those animals that the TPA was originally set up to benefit, but closes the loophole that now allows any animal with a breed passport to be imported/exported without health checks. The agreement needs to be amended to clarify what constitutes a ‘registered’ horse now that all EU equines are passported. It is this ’loophole’ which has allowed the import into the UK of meat chain horses from France without health checks, and the easy export of horses, many of which are ex-racers, from the UK to France for meat.
New regulations could fairly simply be drafted to ensure that unrestricted travel is only granted to the three main groups the TPA was originally intended to cover; racehorses, competition horses and bloodstock.
Our recommendation is that the simplest way to do this would be to remove the reference to ‘registered horses’ and replace that with a requirement that a horse is accompanied by the documents detailed below:
All registered thoroughbred horses born Ireland and the UK have a Weatherbys passport.
French born thoroughbreds (pur sang) are registered with the HARAS NATIONAUX, recognised by Weatherbys as the definitive passport issuing office for the French bred racehorse.
Additional to being recognised with one of these passports, documentation needs to accompany the horse to prove that the horse is in training and is travelling to a race meeting – easy to prove with evidence of entries (all races have a five-day declaration stage)and passport stamps on arrival at venue.
If the horse is being imported/exported following its sale, then a ‘bill of sale’ would be obligatory.
This category covers breeding stock travelling to stud.
This is slightly more complicated and a sensible solution needs to be considered. Unlike the sports horse industry, the Thoroughbred stud books do not accept Artificial Insemination, and the coverings must be natural. Accordingly there is more traffic of Thoroughbred stallions and broodmares than of any other breed. The legitimacy of their travelling could easily be validated with a document endorsed by the studs standing moving/standing such stallions.
Movement of mares could require a form with confirmation from the stud where the mare is booked in before travel, then one to accompany her following covering for her return journey.
This could be Weatherbys driven, both for horses coming to the UK to be covered and going abroad to be covered. These regulations would be applied to ALL breeding stock, whatever the breed.
All horses that compete internationally are required to have an FEI passport, so this would be the documentation required for unrestricted travel, along with proof of entries from the governing body and passport marking on arrival at venue to give validation for return to the country of residence.
If the horse is being importe/exportedd following its sale, then a ‘bill of sale’ would be obligatory.
If these are the only horses covered by the TPA, then the present loophole that allows ANY passported animal to travel legally without health checks will be closed which will both help protect the UK equine populated from incoming diseases and will also reduce the number of animals imported when not ‘fit to travel’.
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