Keeping farmed animals – guidance

Report and record cattle deaths on the holding

When cattle die on the farm or another premises, rather than at slaughter, the keeper must record and report the death to BCMS.

You must report the death of any cattle on your holding. The information must arrive with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) within 7 days of the death.

You must also update your holding register within 7 days.

Where to send documents

Reporting cattle deaths involves posting documents back to BCMS. The address to use is:

BCMS
Curwen Road
Workington
CA14 2DD

Report fallen stock

You must either:

  • report online or by phone, then return the animal’s registration document (eg its passport) to arrive with BCMS within 7 days of the date of death
  • report by completing and returning the animal’s registration document (eg its passport) to BCMS

If you report a death on your holding online or by phone, you do not need to fill in the ‘Death details’ section of the passport before you send it to BCMS. If the animal has a single-page passport, you must tick the box to indicate that you have reported the death electronically.

Note that if the animal is over 48 months old its carcase must go for TSE testing, which is the process of checking for the presence of BSE (see ‘Dispose of a carcase’ below). This means that you need to tear off the TSE testing slip from the bottom of a single page passport, or keep back a movement card if the animal doesn’t have a single-page passport. The slip or card will go with the carcase to the sampling site.

Which documents to return

The documents to send to BCMS are shown in the table below (assuming the animal still has its original documents – if BCMS has sent a more up-to-date style replacement for an original, you’ll send that later document).

Do not send other documentation (eg breed certificates).

Status of animal What to send
Registered after 1 August 2011 Single-page passport (CPP52)
Registered between 28 September 1998 and 31 July 2011 Chequebook-style passport (CPP13)
Registered between 1 August 1996 and 27 September 1998 Old-style (blue and green) cattle passport (CPP1) and certificate of CTS registration (COR or form CHR3)
Born, imported or moved into Great Britain before 1 August 1996 Certificate of CTS registration (COR or CHR3)
Animal without passport born after 1 August 1996 Notice of registration (CPP35) or a letter if the CPP35 has not been retained

If you use CTS Online

You can report the death of a registered animal using CTS Online from the home page or using the upload facility. To report multiple deaths, you can create a file for uploading movements and deaths to CTS Online (PDF, 736KB, 12 pages) .

If you report a death by CTS Online you must still return the passport and/or certificate of registration to BCMS within 7 days of the death.

If you use the CTS self service line

If the animals have UK numeric tags, you can report their deaths on the CTS self service line.

Before you call, you’ll need to have:

  • your CPH number
  • the ear tag numbers of the animals you are reporting as dead
  • the date of death of each animal

If you report a death by phone, you must return the passport and/or certificate of registration to BCMS to arrive within 7 days of the date of death.

If you use farm software

If you report a death using farm software, you must return the passport and/or certificate of registration to BCMS to arrive within 7 days of the date of death.

If you report deaths by post

If you report by post, you must complete the ‘Death details’ section of the passport and/or certificate of registration and return it to BCMS to arrive within 7 days of the date of death.

Report animals slaughtered on the holding

If an animal is slaughtered on your holding by a vet or abattoir operator and then taken to a abattoir for dressing, you must complete the death details section in the passport and send it with the animal to the abattoir. The passport must show that the animal died on the farm.

If an unregistered calf dies

If a calf dies before it has been tagged, you do not need to report its death to BCMS but you must update your records. Enter the calf’s dates of birth and death against the dam details in your holding register.

If a calf dies after it’s been tagged but before you’ve applied for a passport you must tell BCMS about the death by one of these means:

  • using CTS Online or some compatible farm software packages
  • using the CTS self service line
  • sending BCMS the application for a cattle passport form (CPP12) once you have completed sections 2 and 3 (the animal’s details) and section 4 (the death details)

If a calf dies after it’s been tagged and you have sent off the application for its passport, contact BCMS to tell them about the death.

You must not reuse a dead calf’s ear tags for another animal.

If you fail to report deaths

Unreported cattle deaths may come to light at a cattle identification inspection.

When an animal dies you are committing an offence if you:

  • fail to report the death within 7 days
  • fail to return the passport to BCMS within 7 days

You could face penalties and a cross-compliance reduction to any subsidy claims you have.

Dispose of a carcase

When the carcase leaves your holding, you do not need to report an ‘off’ movement.

Animals that require TSE testing

Fallen stock must be tested for TSE if they are:

  • over 48 months of age and born in the UK or in one of the countries listed in the table below
  • over 24 months of age and born outside the UK or the countries in the table
country tag code country tag code country tag code
Austria AT Germany DE Malta MT
Belgium BE Greece EL The Netherlands NL
Cyprus CY Hungary HU Poland PL
Czech Republic CZ Ireland IE Portugal PT
Denmark DK Italy IT Slovakia SK
Estonia EE Latvia LV Slovenia SI
Finland FI Lithuania LT Spain ES
France FR Luxembourg LU Sweden SE

Animals imported or moved into Great Britain that have been retagged can be hard to identify, but the country of origin is shown on the GB passport which will have been issued for the animal.

The only exceptions are animals that die in the Isles of Scilly, Lundy Island, Bardsey Island, Flatholm Island, Caldey Island in Wales, and certain Scottish islands, which are exempt from TSE testing.

If an animal that must be tested for TSE dies on your holding, within 24 hours of the death you must arrange the delivery of the carcase to an approved sampling site, so that a brainstem sample can be taken for TSE testing. You can do this by:

If you deliver the carcase yourself, you must do this within 72 hours of the animal’s death.

When the carcase is taken for delivery to the sampling site, it should be accompanied by one of the following:

  • the TSE cut-off slip from the single-page passport
  • a movement card if the animal has a chequebook-style passport
  • no documentation, if the animal only has a notice of registration

When sending documents with a carcase, you should put them in an envelope or clear plastic bag.

Do not send the passport or notice of registration with the animal. You must report the death to BCMS and send back the passport or notice of registration as described above.

Animals that do not require TSE testing

You must do one of the following:

  • send the carcase to a hunt kennel or knacker’s yard
  • use your local fallen stock collector
  • use the National Fallen Stock Scheme (NFSS) run by the National Fallen Stock Company (call 01335 320014 for information)

You must not bury or burn carcasses on your holding (unless an incineration plant on your holding has been approved by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency).

In Great Britain, the only exceptions to this ban are for specified remote areas in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the Scilly Isles and Lundy Island in England, and Bardsey Island, Flatholm Island and Caldey Island in Wales.