Pig keepers: identify animals before moving them

How to identify pigs and piglets before moving them off your holding.

You must tag, tattoo or mark pigs aged 12 months or older with your official herd mark before they leave your holding.

The only exemption is if you’re moving piglets aged 12 months or less between 2 farms.

Types of identifier

You can use any of these identifiers:

  • an ear tag
  • a tattoo on 1 of the animal’s ears
  • 2 slap marks applied to both of the pig’s front shoulders using permanent ink

Ear tags must start with the letters ‘UK’ and information must be printed or stamped, not handwritten.

Slap marks and tattoos don’t need to include the letters ‘UK’. You can use compressed air equipment to apply slap marks.

Information required on identifiers

All identifiers you apply must show your herd mark.

You must also select a unique identification number for the pig and add it to the identifier, if you’re moving pigs to:

  • an exhibition or show
  • an artificial insemination (AI) centre or any other breeding location
  • another country (within, or outside the EU)

You don’t have to select an identification number and add it to the identifier if you’re moving pigs anywhere else, eg to another holding, market or abattoir.

Identify piglets

You don’t have to tag, tattoo or mark pigs aged 12 months or less with identification details, if you’re moving them from one farm holding to another farm holding.

For such moves you can instead identify them using a temporary paint mark, eg a red line, black cross, or blue circle.

The mark must last until the piglet reaches the destination holding.

The piglet must be accompanied by a haulier summary / movement document (HS/MD) which identifies the holding from which it was moved.

If you’re moving pigs aged 12 months or less anywhere else, (eg to a market, abattoir or show) you must tag, tattoo or mark them with identification details like adult pigs.

Identify imported animals

You must tag, tattoo or mark any pigs you import from outside the EU to your holding with your herd mark.

You don’t have to tag, tattoo or mark the pigs, if you’re sending them for slaughter within 30 days of their arrival in the UK.

Published 31 December 2014