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Animal licences

Animal movement licence

We need to keep track of where livestock are to help us stop disease from spreading. There are strict rules controlling the identification and movement of livestock. These rules apply to you even if you only keep one animal of the species covered.

The Disease Control Order requires all movements of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and deer to be notified to the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). The details are entered onto a database so that in the event of a disease outbreak all livestock are traceable to enable effective measures to be put in place to control and eradicate highly contagious animal diseases.

General licences

You will need to keep and retain a copy of the general licence for the animal species that you farm as it informs you of the legal requirements associated with any movement of animals that you undertake. It does not accompany the livestock.

Whenever you move cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and deer you must comply with the conditions of the general licence. In particular you need to be aware that a six or 20 day standstill period applies after an animal is moved onto a holding.

Movement documents

In addition to the general licence, movements of sheep, goats, pigs and deer must be accompanied by a movement document. Cattle and horses are moved under the control of a relevant passport.

You must complete a movement document every time you move sheep, goats, pigs or deer from your holding. All movements must be reported by the person receiving the animals within three days of the movement taking place.

You will need a copy of the movement document for the departure point, the haulier and destination.

Fallen farm animals

The Animal By-Products Regulations require that fallen farm animals (including stillborn animals) are collected, transported and disposed of, by authorised means and without undue delay. Burial or burning is not permitted. Carcases from fallen cattle aged over 48 months (not slaughtered for human consumption) must be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Animal by-products must be transported in covered leakproof containers/vehicles and be accompanied by a commercial document.

Further information

Detailed guidance is available for keepers of specific species: