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Livestock movements

As a livestock keeper there are things you must do. For example, you must register as a keeper and correctly identify your livestock. There are also rules about the movements of livestock. These help to prevent the spread or outbreak of animal diseases.

New keepers

New keepers of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats must register for a County Parish Holding (CPH) number and should phone the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on 0845 603 7777.



Pig keepers must ensure:

  • all pigs moved off holdings are identified with a Defra herdmark using either, slapmark, eartags or tattoo (exceptions apply).
  • annual records of pig numbers kept are recorded
  • full records are kept of all pigs moved on and off a holding and retained for 6 years
  • all movement documentation is completed and welfare rules are observed when movements are undertaken
  • movements comply with the conditions of the General Licence for the Movement of Pigs (PDF 40 KB) and its annex 1 (PDF 50 KB) and annex 2 (PDF 40 KB)
  • they collaborate with inspections as and when required. (1% of pig-keeping holdings are inspected on an annual basis under cross compliance rules)
  • the prescribed 20 day standstill periods are adhered to
  • More detailed information on these rules
  • For direct guidance call the Defra Helpline on 08459 33 55 77
  • Many of the rules on pig identification and movement are governed by the Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) England Order 2007.
  • A summary of legislative requirements for pig keepers is available on the Business Link website.
  • Advice for owners of pet pigs and ‘micro pigs’ (PDF 330 KB) - Guidance on the legal obligations of pig keepers

Micro pigs

Keepers of Micro pigs must adhere to all rules governing the identification and movement of pigs. There are no exceptions for pet pigs. In particular, it should be noted that moves to vets have to be reported and vets will need CPH numbers for these moves to be reported correctly.

Sheep and goats

Please see the separate page detailing information for electronic identification of sheep. Information for goat keepers.



Deer keepers must ensure:


Currently camelids (llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicunas) are not regulated in terms of registration and movement. There is some interest in introducing more formal arrangements on a domestic basis.

The standing movements regime

In the aftermath of the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease Defra introduced standing restrictions on the movements of livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and pigs). Whenever cattle, sheep, goats or pigs are moved onto a farm no cattle, sheep or goats may move off for a period of six days. Pigs have to remain under standstill for 6 days where cattle, sheep and goats have been moved on to a holding. Where pigs have moved on to a farm, existing pigs must remain under standstill for 20 days. This is a disease damping measure designed to slow down the rate of spread of undetected disease and thus reduce the size (and hence the cost) of disease outbreaks. Movements of animals are monitored through the Animal Movements Licensing System (AMLS) which is managed by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). The Disease Control (England) Order 2003 (as amended) is the domestic legislation setting out the law behind the regime.

Page last modified: 28 February 2011