In the guide
This guidance is for Wales
The Cattle Identification (Wales) Regulations 2007 implement European Union (EU) requirements relating to the notification of cattle holdings, ear tagging, passports, and registration of cattle, and the subsequent record keeping requirements.
Cattle need to be identified for traceability, to track disease outbreaks and to ensure the integrity of British beef.
Cattle must be identified with a pair of approved ear tags and have been issued with a passport. This identity and documentation must stay with the beast throughout its life. The British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) must be informed of any movements and deaths.
A record of all cattle births, deaths and movements must be recorded in the on-farm holding register.
If you want to keep cattle you will first require a county parish holding (CPH) number, which identifies the land where they will be kept.
To apply for a CPH number you need to contact the Rural Payments Wales (RPW) (opens in a new window) customer contact centre on 0300 062 5004.
An occupier of a holding who begins to keep cattle on that holding, and any person who takes over the occupation of a holding where cattle are kept, must notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) (opens in a new window) of their name and address and the address of the holding. This must be done within one month. APHA should be contacted on 0300 303 8268 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They will provide you with your herd number at this stage.
You must also notify APHA, within one month, if you stop keeping cattle.
Cattle need to be identified for traceability:
All cattle born after 14 April 1998 must be identified with a pair of Welsh government-approved ear tags and it is a requirement that all such cattle display at least one primary tag plus either a second primary tag or a secondary tag in the other ear (double tagging).
The 'primary' tag may be inserted in either ear but must:
The 'secondary' tag may be of a range of approved materials and models, including metal, plastic 'button' type, and other plastic types. It must contain the same information as the primary tag, but may also contain management information. The secondary tag must be in a different ear from the primary tag.
Since 1 April 1998 only yellow primary tags have been produced. All newborn animals must be identified by these yellow primary tags and a secondary tag as described above.
EU regulations also allow the option of including a barcode on an official tag. Whilst Great Britain chose not to introduce this requirement, in some EU states it is compulsory. However, there is no requirement for cattle born in Great Britain to be identified with ear tags bearing a barcode. This includes animals going for export. It is entirely up to the importer and exporter to decide, through commercial arrangements, whether or not this is necessary.
If a keeper discovers an ear tag applied under these Regulations has become illegible or lost they must, within 28 days of discovery, replace it with an ear tag bearing the same unique number.
Cattle must not be moved from a holding until any lost ear tags have been replaced.
If any animal was identified under the previous Cattle Tagging Order and loses its tag, it can be identified in any of the following ways:
If the animal is given a new number this must be cross-referenced with the old number in the on-farm movement register. The certificate of registration (COR) and old-style (blue and green) passport must be returned to BCMS (opens in a new window) within 14 days (and before the animal is moved off the holding) for the passport to be reissued.
Animals born since 1 January 1998 must retain the same number throughout their lives.
The first ear tag must be applied within 36 hours of the birth of the animal and the second tag must be applied within 20 days of birth.
Both tags must be applied within 20 days of the birth of the animal.
A cattle passport is a government-issued document that states the animal's:
This document must accompany the animal throughout its life, from birth to death, and must include all movements, changes of ownership, passages through cattle markets, etc.
You must check that all the animal's details are correct on its passport; failure to do so may render the passport invalid. If you find an error you should return the passport along with a covering letter to BCMS detailing the changes to be made. You cannot move the animal until you receive a corrected passport. It is an offence to deface or alter any information in a cattle passport or use a cattle passport for any animal other than the animal for which it was granted.
The chequebook-style passport provides for a notification card to be completed when the animal is moved and sent to BCMS within three days of the movement or the movement can be notified to BCMS electronically or via telephone as outlined below.
Since 1 August 2011, cattle registered with BCMS have been issued with a one page A4-style passport, which no longer includes prepaid movement cards. This type of passport replaces the chequebook-style passport. The movements of all cattle with the new-style passport will now have to be notified to BCMS by one of the following methods:
These electronic services should be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It is a legal requirement that all cattle must be correctly identified, and those born since 1 July 1996 must be accompanied by a cattle passport. Those born before this date must have a certificate of registration (COR). The passport / COR must be kept by the keeper of the animal. The keeper, not the owner, must hold all the identification documents for the animals they are responsible for. If animals are moved to common land, summer grazing or winter lets, the keeper of the animals must have the passport. Anyone transporting cattle must ensure that each animal is accompanied throughout its journey with a valid cattle passport / COR.
Cattle with a COR are restricted under the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Wales) Regulations 2008 to their current holding due to their age and consequent TSE risk. Keepers wishing to move these restricted animals must submit a movement licence application form, completed by both parties involved in the movement, to the APHA specialist service centre (opens in a new window) in Worcester.
Prior to 1 July 1996 all older cattle should be in possession of a COR document (obtainable from BCMS). Since 1 July 1996 and up to 28 September 1998 all cattle on a green passport should also have a COR document (also obtainable from BCMS), thus enabling movement cards to be sent to BCMS within three days of the movement.
Cattle born after 28 September 1998 were issued with a chequebook-style passport obtained from BCMS.
Cattle registered since 1 August 2011 with BCMS are issued with a one page A4-style passport.
All applications for cattle passports must be made to BCMS within seven days of tagging (a maximum of 27 days in total from the date of birth). Keepers of cattle must ensure that passport applications are made within the specified time limits. It is an offence to have cattle without passports outside the time limits stated above.
a) On-farm cattle breeding records
All dairy herd births must be recorded in the register within seven days of birth. All other herd births must be recorded in the register within 30 days of birth.
The following information must be recorded in the register in relation to each birth:
b) Cattle movement records
The following information must be recorded in the holding register within 36 hours of an animal moving on to or off a holding:
The name and address of the holder of the record must be recorded in the register along with the CPH number to which the register relates and the relevant herd mark.
You must record any links with other farms (issued by BCMS) in your farm records, and all movements of cattle between your farm and the linked farm.
Whenever you move cattle, you must follow the conditions of the general licence for the movement of cattle.
In September 2016 Rural Payments Wales (RPW) started to write to all keepers who have separate CPH numbers within a ten mile radius of the primary production location (PPL) - that is, the main location of livestock buildings or main animal handling facilities, which is usually the same as the correspondence address.
Keepers will be able to merge their current CPHs under a single CPH number and will therefore only be required to keep one register and will not need to record or report any movements within their one CPH. There will be no standstill or TB testing implications for moves within the CPH. The use and issue of CTS links will end with the issue of 'ten mile rule' holding numbers; all movements between holdings that fall outside a ten mile radius are required to be reported to BCMS.
Until keepers are contacted by RPW, the rules relating to individual CPHs will remain unchanged. More information on these changes (opens in a new window) is available on the Welsh government website.
The records may be paper based or stored on a computer and should be in a format approved by the Welsh government. The keeper must produce these records to an inspector when asked to do so.
We recommend that cattle keepers maintain records following the format of the holding register (opens in a new window) suggested by the BCMS.
This format covers both on-farm cattle breeding records and the cattle movement records.
Records must be kept for 10 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last entry was made.
Failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is a fine and two years' imprisonment.
Last reviewed / updated: June 2017
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
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