Livestock movements, identification and tracing

Whether you keep one animal as a pet or a commercial herd/flock you need to be registered with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website.

If you already keep cattle, sheep, goats or pigs and have not registered you must do so immediately.

Why animal identification and movements need to be recorded

  • in the event of a disease outbreak, the precise location of all livestock is essential for effective measures to control and eradicate highly contagious viruses
  • to try to stop the spread of disease, strict rules controlling the identification and movements of livestock are required 

Apply for a county parish holding (CPH) number

  • If you want to keep farm animals - or apply for an agricultural subsidy - you need to get a county parish holding (CPH) number from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
  • You will need to register the land your livestock will be kept at, by contacting the RPA.
  • Find full details on the Rural Payments Agency website or phone them on 03000 200 301.
  • Once you have your CPH number, you can move the livestock to your holding under a general licence.

Register your animals or flock

  • The next step is to register your livestock with the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301 and choosing the relevant options for APHA.
  • You will be asked for your CPH as a reference and will be able to register your livestock over the phone.
  • They will need to know if your correspondence address is different from the herd/flock location.
  • When your livestock is registered, a flock/herd mark will automatically be created.
  • You will be sent a registration document which will contain your personal details, CPH and flock/herd mark.
  • If any of your details change, you must inform them within one month of the change.

More information keeping sheep, goats, pigs and deer is available on the DEFRA website.

Animal movement marks 

  • Herd marks for pigs are one or two letters followed by four digits, e.g. AB1234 or A1234.
  • Flock/herd marks for cattle, sheep and goats are six digits, e.g. 123456.
Trading Standards Team

Trading Standards Team contact information

  • 0808 223 1133 (freephone) - Consumer advice and complaints

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ