Farm management

For farm record keeping, laws govern what information must be kept and for how long.

Sheep, goats and deer movement records

All sheep, goat and deer movements must be recorded. Movement reports can either be made electronically or on paper using a movement form.

Up until recently electronic movements of sheep, goats and deer were recorded via the Animal Reporting and Movements Service (ARAMS). However, the Animal Reporting and Movements Service has now been replaced by a new system, and the Livestock Information Service (LIS) is now dealing with electronic reporting of movements. The Livestock Information Service will eventually replace movement recording systems for cattle and pigs also.

To use this service you will need to open an account online by visiting the Livestock Information Service website.

If you wish to report the movements on paper, please visit the Livestock Information Service website for the new movement reporting forms.

Eventually the new forms will be available from animal markets and some abattoirs and larger showgrounds. In the meantime, you can continue to use the old forms that are currently available. The address on the old forms is still valid.

Change of address for reporting movements

The Animal Reporting and Movements Service is no longer operating but the address for sending paper copies of the movement license to the Livestock Information Service is otherwise the same:

Livestock Information Service

PO Box 6299

Milton Keynes

MK10 1ZQ

If you require further support or information on reporting movements to the Livestock Information Service or setting up your account you can either email them at  or telephone 0844 573 0137. Their office is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

Pig movement records

All pig movements must be recorded through AHDB Pork. The departure premises must notify them in advance and the movement must be acknowledged by the receiving premises. You can notify of the movement of pigs on the eaml2 website. Alternatively, telephone the eAML2 Bureau Service on 0844 335 8400.

In your on farm herd register you must make an entry when a pig moves on to or from the holding, within 36 hours of the movement. At least once a year, you must record the number of pigs normally on the holding. Records must be retained for three years.

Cattle movement records

The British Cattle Movement Service must be notified of all cattle movements electronically or by post within three days of the movement taking place. Cattle must be accompanied by their passport.

Cattle must be inspected for signs of foot and mouth disease before they are moved. If any evidence of it is found it must be notified without delay to the head of field delivery England by contacting your local APHA office. If evidence of disease is found, the general licence will be invalidated and no animals kept on the premises of departure can be moved.

Your on farm herd register must be completed when:

  • an animal moves on or off a holding, within 36 hours of the movement
  • a dairy herd animal is born, within seven days of the birth
  • an animal other than in a dairy herd is born, within 30 days of the birth
  • an animal dies, within seven days of the death
  • a replacement ear tag is applied, within 36 hours of replacement

Records must be retained for ten years.

You can download a blank holding register here.

Veterinary medicine records

Records must be completed at the time of purchase and administration of medicines. Proof of purchase must be kept for all veterinary medicines. Records must be kept for at least five years.

Mortality records

All owners or those responsible for farmed animals should keep a record of the number of dead animals found on any inspection. This information should be retained for three years. All farmed animals should be inspected at least once a day - twice for calves - to check their wellbeing.

Transport authorisation and certificate of competence

Anyone transporting cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, equines and poultry more than 65km (about 40 miles) as part of a business or for financial gain must have a valid transporter authorisation and a certificate to show their competence in transporting animals. Authorisations are issued by Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (Executive Agency).

Certificates showing competence in transporting animals are issued after successful completion of a theory test. Find test centres and awarding bodies.

Animal transport certificate

Animal transport certificates are required when transporting animals over 50km and must contain the following details:

  • origin and ownership details of animal(s)
  • place of departure and destination
  • details of the new owner of the animal(s)
  • date and time of departure
  • expected duration of journey

There is no set format to an animal transport certificate, although it must contain the information above. The download is one option. Other formats are acceptable, for instance animal movement documents for pigs, sheep and goats or a delivery note containing all the above information. Any document used as an animal transport certificate must be retained for six months after the journey. Farmers are exempt from carrying an animal transport certificate when transporting their own animals in their own means of transport on journeys up to 50km, although an animal movement document would still be required.

For more details, see the animal welfare during transport section of DEFRA's website.

Animal by-products commercial movement document

Records must be completed when transporting animal by-products (livestock carcasses/parts of livestock carcasses which may have died on your premises).

A commercial document is required and it must accompany the animal by-products during the journey to the disposal premises. The document must be produced in triplicate; the receiver retains the original and the producer and the transporter also keep a copy. Records must be retained for two years. An example of an animal-by product commercial movement document can be found below under useful downloads.

Declaration for moving animals with slight injuries

If you are unsure whether an animal is fit to be transported, you should seek a vet's opinion. Slightly ill or slightly injured animals can be transported, but only if the transport causes them no additional suffering. If you consider that the animal's condition is slight and therefore it may be transported for slaughter, it should be to the nearest available slaughterhouse. Such animals must be accompanied to the slaughterhouse by a declaration, completed by the owner or person in charge of the animal. An example declaration can be found in the downloads.

Breeding exemptions to standstill rules

From 1 August to 30 November each year, exemptions exist to the six-day standstill for the movement of breeding rams and breeding bulls. The exemptions are explained below with links to documents you will need to use the exemptions.

Exemption 1 and 2 - moving from farm to market or market to farm

Rams or bulls can leave your farm, while under standstill rules, to go to a market provided the rams and bulls have been in a Defra-approved isolation facility for six days before the move. Also rams and bulls bought for breeding or returning unsold from a market will not put your premises on a standstill if they are put directly into a Defra-approved isolation facility, and remain there for six days. You must provide a declaration that the animal has been in Defra-approved isolation, and, for rams, supply this to the local authority, along with your movement document.

Exemption 3 - moving from market or farm to farm

A ram or a bull can be moved onto your holding from a farm or from a market, for breeding purposes, without triggering a standstill on your holding, as long as the animal is put into a Defra-approved isolation facility upon arrival on your holding and remains there for six days. For rams, a declaration certifying this is the case should be returned to the local authority, along with the movement licence. The necessary declarations can be found in Part III and IV of General Licence. To make use of these exemptions, the isolation units used must be approved by Defra, via your local Animal and Plant Health Agency Office.


 Animal by-products commercial movement document (pdf / 54 KB)

 Veterinary medicine record form (pdf / 173 KB)

 Animal transport certificate (pdf / 101 KB)

 Pig holding movement record form (pdf / 74 KB)

 Food chain information for animals suspected to be injured or showing signs of abnormality (pdf / 62 KB)

 Food chain information for cattle and calves (pdf / 41 KB)

Contact us

For Trading Standards animal health and welfare advice, please contact Trading Standards and we will be happy to help.