RSPCA Delight as Defra Announce New Microchipping Rule to become a Reality

RSPCA Delight at DEFRA move

RSPCA Delight as Defra Announce New Microchipping Rule to become a Reality

Charity hopes Defra’s proposed horse microchipping law will help tackle equine crisis and crack down on irresponsible owners who abandon their animals.

The RSPCA today welcomes Defra’s announcement that regulations to ensure horses of all ages should be microchipped is finally going to become a reality in England.

The animal welfare charity recently revealed the extent of the horse crisis across England and Wales hit a new high after it took in around 1,000 horses last year. The majority of horses that are abandoned are not microchipped and the owners are untraceable.

At the moment regulations state that horses born on or after 1 July 2009 must be microchipped – and the RSPCA believes that the move to include horses of all ages by October 2020 will go some way to encouraging responsible horse ownership and deter people from leaving their horses unchipped.


RSPCA Assistant Director of External Affairs, David Bowles said:

We are delighted regulations to ensure horses of all ages should be microchipped are set to become a reality in England. Until now, only horses born after 2009 had to be microchipped, but this law change will mean that all horses will now have to be microchipped and details will go onto a central database which can be accessed by local authorities and other agencies.

“The RSPCA rescued almost 1,000 horses last year (2017), and a huge majority were not microchipped making it virtually impossible to trace the owners. Heartbreakingly our inspectors are frequently faced with dead or dying horses which have been dumped, or those abandoned whilst very sick or injured like foal Mickey (pictured above) who was abandoned in a Leicestershire park earlier this year, without any form of identification to lead inspectors to his owners.

“We believe this extension of the current rules on compulsory microchipping will go some way to help find those irresponsible owners that abandon their horses as well as helping owners be reunited with their animals that have been stolen.

Pregnant mare, June was found dumped
Pregnant mare, June was found dumped

He added: “If this law is to work, it is absolutely vital that it is properly enforced and if this happens it could be a crucial step in tackling the heartbreaking crisis facing horses in England and Wales.”

The news comes as just last week an emaciated, pregnant horse was found dumped in a field in Swanley, Kent, and with no microchip, the RSPCA expects they will never be able to trace the owner responsible.

The nine-year-old mare (pictured above), named June by the vet staff who are currently working to save her life, was discovered last Thursday (14 June) extremely sick and is believed to be suffering from a heavy worm burden. She is under treatment from a vet, but at this time it is not known if she will pull through.

To help the RSPCA care for more than 900 horses in its care please visit


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