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Resulting from a partnership between the French Horse and Riding Institute (IFCE) and the European Horse Network (EHN), the detailed study on equidae-related legislation is the first project attempting to understand the specific equine legal issues faced by 12 European countries.

The comparative publication focuses on 5 main issues:

  • Legal status of horses (animal for production or pet animal),
  • Identification of the equidae;
  • tax rules applicable to equine activities;
  • Betting regulations;
  • Welfare standards.

The document reviews existing rules and potential reforms in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom, Sweden.

What are the laws for Equines in Europe ? 

Author Astrid Engelsen

200 pages, June 2017

Price : € 20

This book is available only in digital format. Purchase and downloading on the publisher’s website :

mage with text >>

Horsemeat scandal highlights weaknesses in current EU Law for the horse sector.

Posted: Jun 21, 2013

Today an influential group of leading equine sector representatives and Members of the European Parliament met to discuss the impact of the European horse meat scandal and the lessons that can be learned to improve health and welfare of Europe’s horses.

At the lunch hosted (18th June) by Julie Girling, MEP for South-West England, the group heard how the current economic downturn has put enormous pressure on the horse sector.  “It has affected all aspects of industry and most especially the welfare of horses.  As the value of horses continues to drop and the costs of keeping them continue to rise, across Europe we are seeing an overabundance of horses - especially those of poor quality - and many of these will be sent to slaughter.  This year’s horsemeat scandal has shown the inadequacy of current laws in both protecting and identifying these animals.”

Denis Simonin, DG Sanco, highlighted that horses were not well covered under current general animal welfare laws, while updating the group on the latest progress with the EU Animal Welfare Strategy.  Marit Paulsen, Swedish MEP and rapporteur for the Animal Welfare Strategy followed on by highlighting how horses are not just a hobby, pet or a food animal, but also an important part of our rural landscape and our cultural heritage.  “Horses must be protected in European Law no matter what role they play in society, and a science-based EU Animal Welfare Law could help provide this.”

Ingmar De Vos, Secretary General of the FEI, emphasised that the FEI always supported robust identification systems for all horses to safeguard their health and welfare. "The FEI is very pleased to be collaborating with the OIE on establishing a recognised status for a population of high-health, high-performance horses that travel regularly to international competitions and whose identification is paramount to the effectiveness of this system.”

Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare and member of the European Horse Network Board, stressed the need for more effective implementation and enforcement of the current passport regulations.  “Regulation 504/2008 needs considered amendments to raise standards and simplify enforcement.  The reality is that the traceability of many horses today is totally inadequate.”


European Horse Conference 2010

Posted: Oct 22, 2010


On 17 November 2010, the European Horse Network held a conference dedicated to the Economic and Social impact of the Horse industry in European regions. The aim was to discuss how to proactively influence the upcoming change in the agricultural policy as well as all relevant European policies: rural development, sport, animal welfare, environment, innovation, transport, taxation, tourism and culture.


It enabled numerous representatives of the Horse's industry from various Member States to have a fruitful exchange with the Flemish Minister-President, Kris Peeters, members of the European Parliament, Ms Julie Girling (United Kingdom), Mr Janusz Wojciechowski (Poland), and representatives from the Directorates General "Agriculture" Mike Mackenzie and "Regional Policy" Charles White, of the European Commission.


60 attendees from the horse sector all over Europe and from European Institutions listened to the interesting presentations and exchange of views.


Read more about the conference in the EHN Conference Report




Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish
Minister for Economy, Foreign Policy, Agriculture and Rural Policy


Keynote talk

- Julie GIRLING, Member of the European Parliament
The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in European Regions


How the Horse Industry can contribute to the economic and social development of European Regions?

Moderator: Julie GIRLING, Member of the European Parliament


The social impact of the horse sector in Europe

- Harald MULLER, International Equestrian Federation


Horses are Jobs and National Heritage in Poland

- Marek GRZYBOWSKI, President of Hipika Polska,
- National Horse Industry Institute, (TBC)


The social and cultural importance of the horse sector:
The Nordic Experience

- Tore FYRAND, CEO Solvalla Racetrack in Stockholm, Sweden


A multi-activity equestrian centre –
a model to copy for its organization and funding

- Jean-Pierre KRATZER, Chairman of IENA, Equestrian Institute of Avenches


Small businesses and research opportunities in the horse industry

- Frederic CHAUVEL, Pole Filière Equine


Conclusions: Main benefits and opportunities Panel discussion - How to promote rural development and employment opportunities in the EU Regionsthrough the horse sector?

Moderator: Georgina CROSSMAN, Centre for Rural Policy Research - University of Exeter

- Janusz WOJCIECHOWSKI, Member of the European Parliament,
- Vice Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (TBC)

Questions & Answers and Conclusions.

Conference Information [PDF]

Seminar program
Conference report
Speakers' profiles


Conference talks [PDF]

Key fig: Julie GIRLING
Frederic CHAUVEL
Jean-Pierre KRATZER

EU Equus 2009

Posted: Oct 21, 2010

EU Equus conference was held in Uppsala, Sweden 2009.

The Objectives of EU Equus 2009 were:

  • To highlight how the Horse Industry may contribute towards achieving EU priorities such as rural development, economic growth, ecological and environmental protection, health and science- based knowledge
  • To share immediate experiences of the economic recession on the Horse Industry, as reflected in e.g. sports and breeding, and discuss possible ways forward including how EU programs and policies may contribute to a sustainable development of the Horse Industry
  • To discuss how the Horse Industry can be more proactive in the preparation processes for the EU Rural Development Program commencing in 2014 and for the EU 8th Framework Programs for Research and Technological Development, as well as for the remaining parts of FP7
  • Initiate an increased cooperation between the EU countries concerning the global issues of importance for sustainable development and growth

More information is to be found at the website

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