New legislation affects horse owners in France

A new law published in the Official Journal of the French Republic in December has three interesting repercussions for horse owners.

Firstly, a ‘knowledge certificate’ is required for all private horse owners. Owners not already licenced under a governing body will be required to undertake education to demonstrate their knowledge about equine management and the ‘specific needs of the species’. Should any private owner wish to sell an animal, they must ensure that the new owner is in possession of a certificate before doing so. A similar licencing initiative was introduced in 2019 by the French Equestrian Federation (FFE), requiring members to demonstrate the knowledge and ability to protect their horse’s welfare. Serge Lecomte, President of the FFE, has advocated for a legal framework to be established for non-professional holders since the implementation of this initiative.

Secondly, failure to pay livery or lease fees resulting in the owner of a facility being left to care for a horse will now be considered abandonment. If, after a formal notice and a three-month grace period, a horse-owner still doesn’t pay, the facility owner and resultant care-giver can apply to the judicial court, which has the power to authorise the sale of that horse.

Lastly, undertaking neurectomy, which involves the desensitizing or the cutting of a nerve to treat lameness or foot conditions, will have to be registered in the horse’s registration documents. The practice is allowed in Frace, but prohibited in racing or competition.  

It is thought that these laws will help to ‘combat animal abuse and strengthen the link between animals and humans’ and have been welcomed by the FFE. ‘On behalf of the Federation, Serge Lecomte sincerely thanks the parliamentarians involved and especially the two presidents of the Cheval Study Groups as well as Loïc Dombreval, co-rapporteur of this text at the National Assembly and Anne Chain-Larché, Senator of Seine-et-Marne and Rapporteur at the Senate.’

What do you think of these initiatives? Do we need something similar here in the UK or do you think this is a step too far? We’re interested in hearing your thoughts. Email our editor at with your thoughts.

Information for this article was sourced from the FFE. You can read their full account here:

An Act to combat animal abuse: federal initiatives taken into account | FFE

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