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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 February, 2003, 17:44 GMT
Donkey passport law 'is an ass'
Donkeys
Britain's donkeys will all need passports by the end of the year
An animal lover has described as "bureaucracy gone mad" the decision that her two pet donkeys will need equine passports under a new European Union (EU) ruling.

Rosy Drohan said her two animals - Popsy, 25, and Dillon, 11, are just "organic lawn mowers" living behind her home in Marksbury, near Bath.

But new EU legislation means all horses, ponies and donkeys must hold passports by the end of 2003.

Mrs Drohan said: "They never go anywhere. Even when they need to see the vet he comes to see them. I really can't foresee them needing any identification papers.

"The furthest these two have been is down to the end of the road."

Earlier this month Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael said the passports would act as a safety measure to prevent horses given prohibited medicines from entering the food chain.

'Over the top'

Mrs Drohan, 42, added: "I know it's being done for disease control and I can see the point behind it when it comes to race or show horses. But donkeys aren't shown anywhere."

Mrs Drohan said she would get the documents but felt the idea was "over the top and unenforceable".

She said: "I will have to get them. I'm not into flouting laws, but I think it's bureaucracy gone mad. It's gone too far.

"What I can't imagine is hill farmers in Portugal or Ireland going along with this. We take it all so seriously in this country."

She said it would be impractical to compile the long list of the animals' details, including distinguishing features, needed to obtain the 27 passports.

'Protection system'

A Defra spokesperson said: "Horse passports in an agreed format containing the same information do, of course, aid the movement of animals between countries.

"But another reason that passports are required for all equines - including ponies and donkeys - is to ensure that the date that certain veterinary medicines administered are recorded on the documentation, or 'passport'.

"For animals going for human consumption, certain medicines must never be used, and others must have been administered at least six months previously.

"Although few horses, ponies and donkeys in the United Kingdom are sent for human consumption, we need to ensure that we comply with the protection system which was adopted by the EU in 1999."





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