Keeping livestock on smallholdings

Anyone intending to keep livestock, specifically cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, must register before obtaining the animals.

There are strict laws relating to the keeping of livestock. If you are a keeper you must:

  • Obtain a holding number from the Rural Payments Agency, in Newcastle, telephone: 03000 200 301. For more information see: Rural Payments Agency ;
  • Register with your local Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) office as a pig / sheep / cattle / deer/ goat keeper. Defra will issue you with a herd or flock number;
  • Complete a licence for any movement of pigs, sheep and goats on or off your premises. A licence is also required for taking a pet pig for a walk outside your land. See: Animal movements ;
  • Keep records of such movements in a herd or flock book (copies available from: Keeping Farmed Animals ) ;
  • Cattle keepers should be registered with┬áthe British Cattle Movements Service (BCMS), phone: 0345 050 1234, or register online: Cattle Movement Registration .

Further information can be found at: Defra: Animal health and Animal Health .

Livestock movements and identification

In the aftermath of the first Foot and Mouth outbreak, a rigorous regime of licensing was introduced which controls the movement of a range of animals. Those animals whose movements have to be licensed are sheep, goats, pigs and deer. This allows movements to be traced should an outbreak of disease occur.

The conditions which apply to these movements vary according to the type of animal, the destination and the type of trip. In addition, these conditions are subject to regular review and it is important that you make yourself aware of the latest conditions before moving livestock. See: Animal movements .

Information relating to the rules for livestock movements and identifying your animals is available under 'registering your species': Animal Health .

Further information is also available from Defra: Defra: Animal health .

For copies of movement licenses contact: Environmental Health

See also