Animal movements


If you own a flock, herd or even a single animal of the most common livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer or pigs, there are rules that you must follow to stop the spread of diseases.  Some of these diseases are caused by highly contagious viruses.  The rules cover the identification, tracing and movement of livestock. 

Livestock movement, identification and tracing

There are strict requirements that control the identification, tracing and movements of your livestock, and these requirements apply even if you have just one animal.  Animal identification and traceability is important for disease control and public confidence in farm produce.  The regulations that apply to your business depend on the livestock that you keep.

The latest information on licensing requirements should be sought from us or from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): Livestock identification and movements|External link .

Summary of the main requirements

General Movement Licences

To control animal movement and to ensure the location of an animal can be easily identified, all livestock must be moved on a general licence granted by DEFRA.  There are four general licences and each one sets out mandatory rules on:

There are some standard rules for all general licences, which stipulate that:

You do not need to apply for a general licence, but you must comply with its conditions. Failure to comply with the conditions may mean that you are barred from using it, and you would then have to apply for an individual licence each time you wished to move livestock. You could also be prosecuted.

Reporting pig movements

Pig keepers should be aware that the four-page carbon movement document (Animal Movement Licence AML2) has been replaced by a haulier summary (HS) document.

From now on before pig movements take place the keeper must pre-notify the British Pig Executive (BPEX) online or through the Meat and Livestock Commission Services Ltd (MLCSL) bureau service.

Any changes to the movement information after pre-notification can be made within 24 hours of the move taking place by phone, fax, post, text message or online.

Electronic eAML2 licences

The eAML2 is the electronic version of the pig movement licence AML2. It combines the AML2 and food chain information (FCI) paper forms that are required when moving pigs to slaughter. The system allows you to report electronically via the website or through the bureau system. You can register online free at the eAML2|External link website or by contacting the helpline 0844 335 8400.

Reporting sheep movements

From April 2014 sheep and goat keepers in England are able to use a new Animal Reporting and Movements System (ARAMS) to electronically report their animal movements. The service is delivered by South Western Business Process Services (UK) Ltd.

Livestock keepers will have the choice of reporting sheep (or goat or deer) movements electronically if they wish. However, farmers can continue to report movements on paper if they prefer to do so. An ARAMS-1 document has replaced the AML1 form for sheep and goat movements.

You can obtain the ARAMS-1 document from your local livestock market. They will also be available at some of the major showgrounds. Local Authority offices will carry a stock of these forms for an interim period. You can also find the forms on the ARAMS|External link website.

A copy of the movement document must be sent within three days of the movement to the address on the new forms:

Animal Reporting and Movement Service, South Western, PO Box 6299, Milton Keynes MK10 1ZQ.

Reporting cattle movements

You must register with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS|External link) which maintains the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) database.

All cattle movements must be notified to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) within three working days. The general licence is available on the DEFRA website: Animal movement licence|External link.

How do I apply?

The standard movement document is available as an Adobe Acrobat file on the DEFRA website.

Standstill periods

Any movement of animals onto your premises will trigger a standstill period during which no stock will be permitted to move off. The standstill period is six days for sheep and cattle and 20 days for pigs. However there are exemptions. Check the DEFRA website or contact us for further details: Licensing enquiries.

Last Updated: 26/11/2015