Third country status for UK clears horses to travel between Britain and EU

Racehorses will be able to move between the United Kingdom and European Union in the event of a no-deal Brexit after the UK was granted 'third country' status for the export of live animals by the EU on Monday.

However, barriers to seamless movement of racehorses and breeding stock will remain in the event of no-deal.

Free movement of racehorses and breeding stock between the UK and EU, which had been enshrined in the Tripartite Agreement, will cease to apply in the event of no deal being agreed on October 31, increasing the amount of red tape involved and raising the likelihood of delays.

Without third country status, racehorses and breeding stock would not have been able to move between the UK and EU at all in the event of no-deal.

Even with listed status now confirmed, if the UK leaves without a deal, those moving racehorses to the EU will still need to meet new requirements, such as going through the correct EU border inspection post. British-based racehorse transporters have also voiced grave concerns about whether they will be able to operate in the EU.

In the spring third country status was agreed only a day before the Brexit deadline and the EU's decision to list the UK so far in advance of October 31 on this occasion might suggest that no deal is regarded as a more likely outcome this time.

BHA executive director Will Lambe said: "This is very welcome news for our sector, and provides some important certainty ahead of an October 31 departure from the EU. There will still be additional requirements for our participants wishing to travel a horse into the EU, but full guidance and assistance is available.

"We continue to support and appreciate the UK government’s position that there will be no immediate change to arrangements for thoroughbreds travelling into the UK in the event of no deal."

At the start of the month British racing's Brexit Steering Group told the sport it should start making plans for how it may be affected by no deal.