Cattle without passports

You must get a movement licence for animals that have been refused a passport, animals born before 1 August 1996 and unregistered calves.

Applies to England and Wales

You must not move any live cattle, bison or buffalo without a full passport.

Move animals that have been refused a passport

Cattle that have been refused passports will have a Notice of Registration. These animals must not move alive from your holding, except with a movement licence from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).

These animals must not enter the human food chain under any circumstances.

To get a movement licence, contact BCMS with the name and address of the premises the animal will be going to for disposal.

Depending on the age of the animal, they must go direct to a BSE sampling site, knacker’s yard or hunt kennel:

  • animals over 48 months old can only go to an approved BSE sampling site (there is an exemption for cattle on the Isles of Scilly, Lundy Island, Bardsey Island, Flatholm Island and Caldey Island)
  • animals under 48 months old can only go to a hunt kennel or knacker’s yard

BCMS will send you a movement licence (CPP1b). You must give the licence to the sampling site, hunt kennel or knacker’s yard. They will fill in the slaughter details and return it to BCMS.

You do not need to report a movement off your holding or on to the sampling site. BCMS will record the animal’s death on the Cattle Tracing System after confirmation from the sampling site, hunt kennel or knacker’s yard.

You must update your holding register with the date the animal left your holding.

Move animals born before 1 August 1996

Movement restrictions apply to all cattle born or reared in the UK before 1 August 1996. All keepers of these cattle have been issued with restriction notices for their pre-1 August 1996 animals.

To move one of these animals you must apply for a movement licence from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Specialist Service Centre at Worcester. This form also applies when moving an animal between linked holdings.


Telephone: 0345 601 4858

Fax: 01905 768 649

Block C, Spur 10
Government Buildings
Whittington Road

All movements of pre-1 August 1996 animals must be reported to BCMS in the normal way.

These cattle are permanently excluded from the food and feed chain, including for export.

Move unregistered calves

If you need to move a calf for welfare reasons or for exceptional circumstances such as flooding or fire before you receive its passport, you must contact the BCMS helpline immediately.

You will need to give:

  • the information required to apply for a cattle passport
  • the movement information
  • information about the keeper of the animal

BCMS will send a movement licence to you by post or email. You must send the movement licence with the animal when it moves and then return it to BCMS.

If the information you have given passes BCMS’s validation checks, it will send a passport for the calf to the keeper. If the information does not pass the checks, BCMS will contact you to correct it. If BCMS is still unable to correct the information, it will issue the animal with a notice of registration (CPP35).

This only applies to calves under 27 days old. It does not apply to calves that have been refused a passport already.

Contact BCMS

British Cattle Movement Service

Curwen Road
Derwent Howe
CA14 2DD


BCMS helpline 0345 050 1234

Helpline for cattle keepers in Wales 0345 050 3456

Normal BCMS helpline opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm, closed weekends and bank holidays. All calls charged at local rate.

You can also speak to an advisor on webchat. Webchat is only available in the English language.

Published 6 May 2014
Last updated 4 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. This guidance has been updated to show it no longer applies to Scotland.

  2. First published.