Press release

Less red tape for farmers as new animal movement rules go live

Farming Minister George Eustice announces simpler rules for livestock keepers to register land they use for animals.

Cows in a field

The launch of simpler rules for livestock keepers to register land they use was announced by Farming Minister George Eustice today (27 July 2016).

From today until summer 2017, the new system for registering land on which livestock is kept will be rolled out. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will start contacting livestock keepers to help them transition to the new arrangements.

A first batch of individual letters will be sent to livestock keepers affected by the changes this week. The letters will remind farmers of these changes to animal movement rules and set out the options available to them. Keepers do not need to do anything until they are contacted.

Farming Minister George Eustice said:

Farming is a fundamental part of our rural economy, producing food, providing jobs and generating over £100 billion a year for our economy.

But our farmers often face overly complex rules and regulations. Making it simpler for them to understand what they need to do to will not only help them follow the rules – it will improve our disease control capability by ensuring better information on animal locations is being recorded on Defra’s livestock location database.

The changes, originally recommended by the Task Force on Farming Regulation, form part of the government’s on-going programme to boost UK food and farming’s productivity by cutting unnecessary red tape and the time farmers spend on excessive form filling.

Under the existing animal movement regime, many farmers must report livestock movements to any other land they own or rent beyond a 5 mile radius of their home farm. The reporting automatically triggers a 6 day lockdown – or ‘standstill’ – on the farm during which no animals can be moved. There is also a host of different rules for sheep, cattle and pigs under a complicated web of schemes, including the Cattle Tracing System Links and Sole Occupancy Authorities.

The new scheme, to be rolled out over the next 12 months, will replace this complicated bureaucracy and all farmers will be able to move their animals around any land they have registered and are using within a 10 mile radius under a single County Parish Holding number without the need for reporting, or standstills. Reporting and standstill requirements for livestock movements to other farms or businesses continue to apply.

You can read an overview of the new arrangements.

Published 27 July 2016