How your livestock intended for EU export need to be identified from 1 January 2021.
What do I need to do if I want to export livestock to the EU from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, livestock exports to the EU will continue, but you will need to follow some extra rules on ear-tagging.
Currently all livestock in the United Kingdom (UK) are identified with the prefix ‘UK’ followed by the animals individual identification number. The UK prefix is used as the abbreviation for the United Kingdom, as recognised within the European Union (EU). However, once we leave the EU we will have to use our official ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) two letter country code which is ‘GB’.
We advise that you confirm these identification requirements are compliant with the importer before the animals leave your holding. Livestock moved to Northern Ireland will also need to be identified with a visual GB tag.
Please note: The UK tag format should continue to be used for recording births, deaths and reporting animal movements on EIDCymru, BCMS and eAML2.
Sheep: use an additional GB export tag or apply full EID visual tags with UK and GB
Sheep are double tagged with UK ear tags. One of these is an electronic identification (EID) tag and one is visual. Sheep or lambs intended for live export must be identified with full EID.
Tagging amendments required for sheep intended for export to the EU are:
|Apply new full EID tags with the ‘UK’ prefix, animal identification number along with the suffix ‘GB’
|Apply a third (management) tag with the prefix ‘GB’ followed by the animals existing ID number. This tag must be printed and can be any colour except yellow or red
To be removed and replaced with new full EID tags with the ‘UK’ prefix, animal identification number along with the ‘GB’ suffix.If the lambs are still on the holding of birth, the full EID replacements must be yellow, but for all lambs that are being reidentified off the holding of birth, the full EID replacement identifiers must be red.
There are no requirements about the type of visual tag used (for example loop/fold over, flag or button tags).
Cattle: use an additional export tag, or apply double tags with both UK and GB
Cattle are double tagged with approved ear tags which include the country code UK and the animal’s individual ID number.
Tagging amendments required for cattle intended for export to the EU are:
|Apply a pair of UK tags with the ‘UK’ prefix and animal identification number. The primary tag must only include UK but the secondary tag must include the ’GB’ suffix.
|Apply a third (management) tag with the prefix ‘GB’ followed by the animals existing ID number. This must be a printed plastic tag.
There are no requirements about the type of tag (for example flag tag or button tag).
Cattle will no longer need to be accompanied by their passport on export to a member state, and you will need to return the passports to BCMS within 7 days of export. Cattle moving to Northern Ireland still need to be accompanied by their passport.
If you are exporting cattle for slaughter, they also need to be freeze-branded on the hind quarters with an L mark.
Pigs: visual ear tag must include GB
Pigs are usually batch identified by their herd mark, using double slap marks (shoulder tattoos). Some pigs, may be individually identified, usually with a single ear tag for example those:
- for show
- moved to artificial insemination centres
Pigs intended for export to the EU will need an eartag or tattoo:
|Apply a visual tag with the ‘UK’ prefix the herdmark, animal number along with the ‘GB’ suffix, OR a tattoo bearing the ‘UK’ prefix, herdmark, animal number and ‘GB’ suffix
|Eartag or Tattoo
|Apply a third (management) tag with the prefix ‘GB’ followed by the animals existing ID number. This tag must be printed.
The electronic identification of goats in Wales is voluntary. But, on export, they must have an EID tag bearing the ISO country code GB as well as the animals individual identification number.
Where do I get these tags?
Your usual ear tag supplier will be able to supply these tags, but you should tell them they are for animals intended for export to the EU.
They will print the tags and deliver them to you in the usual way. You can apply the tags to the animal and record that you have done so in your holding register. The animal can then be exported as normal.
You should allow 3 to 6 days for this process, to allow time for your tag supplier to produce and deliver your tags.