The Equine Sector Council (ESC) works with the British Horse industry Confederation (BHIC) as the primary horse industry links with government. With an open membership invitation, currently encompassing racing, trade, welfare, veterinary, sport, breeding, coaching, training and many other groups, the Equine Sector Council works in a culture of positive information exchange and interaction.

The ESC and BHIC have worked with government on crucial industry matters such as equine identification and national database, equine health and welfare, fly grazing, horse passport standards and most recently the 2015 General Election Manifesto for the Horse.

The bi-annual review of the Equine Health and Welfare Strategy (2005) is one of the ESC's key tasks, read about this review here



Equine Sector Council and BHIC work actively with Government - (Published:09 May 2016)

During 2015 both organisations have been working closely with Defra on several key issues which, once they have been concluded, will mean that the risk ratings in the matrix which are associated with these issues will be reviewed.

Code of Practice Review

Following on from Defra’s announcement at the June 2015 Sector Council meeting that they would be conducting a review of all companion animal codes of practice, they asked the Steering Group of the Equine Sector Council to coordinate a review of the current Code of Practice for equines in England and to seek a sector view on the content of the current Code whether it should remain statutory. 


The Steering Committee considers that the Code should:

  • Remain statutory

  • Reflect the minimum standard of care acceptable under the law

  • Be based on accepted practice and, where possible, scientific research

  • Be viewed as a document that supports (or refutes) a case being brought under the Animal Welfare Act – rather than being a prescriptive and exhaustive list of actions that could be viewed in isolation

  • Be complimentary to the NEWC Compendium (which provides greater detail and covers wider issues than just welfare) 

A sector wide consultation concluded in 2015 and discussions are ongoing with Defra

Central Equine Database

The tender for the provision of the database as required under Commission Decision 2015/262 has closed and the database will need to be in place by 1 July 2016. Both the Equine Sector Council and BHIC have been active in working with Defra to shape the database into a tool which will help to improve horse owner understanding of equine identification regulation and increase regulatory compliance.

Regulation Changes

A number of new regulations are to come into force between now and 2021. These include the Statutory Instrument for England which makes 2015/262 applicable to the UK; the Zootechnical Regulation which impacts on breed standards for all kept animals and the EU Animal Health Regulation which is a framework regulation developed to improve consistency of welfare standards and application across all EU Member States. Defra is working with different elements of the equine sector to ensure that our views are heard Info

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is Friday 24 June 2016. Comments? Email us


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