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You must identify and register all cattle with the British Cattle Movement Service within 27 days of birth.

First published:
19 February 2019
Last updated:

This must also be done when an animal is brought into Great Britain. This does not apply if the animal is to be slaughtered within 15 days of entering the country.

Cattle movements

All movements must be reported within three days via the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).

BCMS maintain the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) and on behalf of:

  • Welsh Government
  • Scottish Government
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

CTS Online can also be used to report births and movements, on and off your holding to ensure that we hold an accurate record of your cattle.

BCMS helplines for all cattle keepers in Wales: 0345 050 3456.

Cattle passports

Since August 2011, your cattle passport has been a single page passport (CPP52). It does not contain pre-paid movement cards.

The passport has been designed to include a heat sensitive security feature on the bottom right hand corner (diamond shaped). This is to make sure that when heat is applied to the shape the colour will fade. To test this, press the shape between your thumb and finger; this assures you that the passport is an original document.

The passport is designed to include areas for you to write any TB testing details, any farm assurance stickers or auction/market lot numbers.

Also included is an area for you to punch holes in the passport, this makes it possible for you to store it away in a folder/file. You can also fold the passport into three so that it can be filed together with any chequebook-style passports.

Cattle passport deadlines

If you fail to apply in time to BCMS they will not issue a passport. That animal can not leave its holding. The only exception to this if cattle are being disposed of. This does not include entering the food chain.

If you don’t apply in time, BCMS will refuse to issue a passport. An animal without a passport can’t leave the holding, except to go for disposal (it can’t go into the food chain).

If you’re worried that you haven’t left enough time to apply for a passport, you can contact BCMS for advice.

Application details

To apply for a cattle passport you need the following:

  • date of birth
  • breed
  • ear tag number (herd mark, check digit and animal number)
  • sex
  • birth dam’s ear tag number
  • genetic dam’s ear tag number (if different to birth dam number)
  • sire’s ear tag number (if known)

You can apply by either filling in the online CTS form on the BCMS website (external link) or by phoning the CTS self service line:

  • Welsh 0345 011 1213
  • English 0345 011 1212

Both lines are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Problems with the post

When you apply for a passport, you should receive it within 14 days. If you don’t, the passport will be treated as lost and you should contact BCMS to report this.

If BCMS have issued the passport and you haven’t received it, they may send a replacement free of charge if you have informed them within six weeks.

If you do not inform BCMS within six weeks, you will have to pay a fee of £20 per animal when applying for the replacement passport.

You should also tell BCMS if you’ve sent in a passport for any reason and you’ve not received it back within 14 days.

As the keeper of the animals, you are responsible for:

  • the secure storage of all identification documents, including passports
  • transferring the identification documents to the new keeper when you sell cattle