The British Cattle Movement Service

The British Cattle Movement Service is part of the Rural Payments Agency. The Rural Payments Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

What does the British Cattle Movement Service do?

The British Cattle Movement Service is responsible for maintaining a register of births, deaths and imports of cattle, for issuing cattle passports and for recording the location of individual cattle. This is known as the Cattle Tracing System.

The Cattle Tracing System was set up to fulfil Great Britain’s obligations under:

  • EC Directive 64/432 on animal health problems affecting intra-Community trade in bovine animals and swine (as amended);
  • EC Regulation 1760/00 establishing a system for the identification and registration of bovine animals and regarding the labelling of beef and beef products and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No. 820/97;
  • EC Regulation 2629/97 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No. 820/97 as regards ear tags, holding registers and passports in the framework of the system for the identification and registration of bovine animals;
  • EC Regulation 2630/97 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation 1760/00 as regards the minimum level of controls to be carried out in the framework of the system for the identification and registration of bovine animals;
  • EC Regulation 494/98 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation 1760/00 as regards the application of minimum administrative sanctions in the framework of the system for the identification and registration of bovine animals.

The requirements of the directive and the regulations is enforced in England through the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007 and in Wales through the Cattle Identification (Wales) Regulations 2007.

The purpose of the Cattle Tracing System is to enable cattle which have been exposed to disease to be traced and to strengthen consumer confidence in beef.

The Cattle Tracing System is a computer based system which records the identification and death of cattle and movements of cattle issued with passports from 28 September 1998 and movements of older cattle since 29 January 2001.

All cattle born after 1 July 1996 are required to have a passport, which records where they have been throughout their lives. Older cattle are issued with certificates of Cattle Tracing System registration.

Cattle keepers can register their new calves, report movements, report the death of registered animals and check the movement history of individual cattle and passport applications online through the British Cattle Movement Service’s website, which is known as CTS Online. The site can be accessed through the Government Gateway.