Livestock identification and traceability: guidance

How we identify animals and how they are tracked when they are moved.


From 1 January 2021 there are some changes to the requirements around the export of livestock from Scotland to the European Union (EU) and movements to Northern Ireland (NI). Whilst the below export requirements for movements to the EU will not change, requirements for exports from Great Britain (GB) to NI are subject to ongoing negotiations. As currently written, the Northern Ireland Protocol will require movements of livestock from GB to NI to be treated as if moving livestock to a Member State from 1 January 2021. Read the guidance about livestock identification export requirements post EU exit.

Pig identification and traceability is an essential part of disease control in Scotland. In the event of a disease outbreak, it is important that all animals can be identified and movements traced.


There are a number of steps you need to take before you move pigs onto your holding in order to operate within the requirements of the law:

  1. Firstly, you must register your holding with the Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) through your local office. They will give you a County Parish Holding (CPH) number which is a unique code allocated to the land where animals are kept - this is used when reporting and recording animals moving on to or off your holding.
  2. You must then inform your local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) office who will give you a herd mark for your holding. The herd mark means you will be able to identify pigs born on holding.

You must register your holding within 30 days from the date you first keep animals.

You must also inform APHA within 30 days of ceasing to keep animals on a holding.

Pig keepers are also required to register with the ScotEID website or by phoning the ScotEID help centre (01466 794323) to report pig movements. You will require the following information:

  • County Parish Holding (CPH) number(s)
  • herd number(s)
  • slap mark(s) (if used)
  • quality assurance scheme number (if a member)
  • email address


All pigs born on your holding must be identified before leaving the holding of birth.  You can identify your pigs by using one of the following methods:



Ear Tags

Must contain the letters ‘UK’ followed by your herd mark i.e.UK AB1234.  Can be made of metal or plastic or a combination of both.


The letters ‘UK’ are optional but it must show your herd mark.  Must be applied to the ear of the pig by tattoo forceps.

Slap Mark

Must show your herd mark or an alphanumeric identifier allocated to you by one of the Scottish marketing or processing groups.

Temporary Mark

Paint mark on the pig i.e. red line, blue cross or black circle.  There are however restrictions to this which can be found in the full guidance document.

Farm records

All keepers must keep a holding register showing:

  • The County Parish Holding (CPH), address of the holding and the name and address of the keeper;
  • The date the pigs were moved;
  • The number of pigs moved;
  • The address and CPH number where the pigs were moved from
  • The address and CPH number where the pigs were moved to; and
  • The temporary mark or identification number , including the unique individual identification number, if applicable.

This information must be recorded in the holding register within 48 hours of a movement on or off your holding. The ScotEID database has an on-line holding register which you can elect to use as your records. You can choose to use this to keep all your holding register information or in part, with other information kept on your holding in paper or your own farm software.


When a pig move, its movement must be recorded in your holding register and you must notify ScotEID, either prior to the movement taking place or on the day of the movement.  This can be done either electronically, in writing or by telephoning the ScotEID office.

Movement restrictions

The current animal movement restrictions under the Disease Control (Interim Measures) (Scotland) Order 2002 were introduced on 18 February 2002. This legislation provides that animals may only move under licence and imposes standstill periods when animals are brought onto holdings.

At present this standstill period is 20 days for pigs.  Read further information on standstill periods.


All Scottish pig keepers must comply with the requirements of:

Pig identification and registration: guidance for keepers in Scotland

Pig identification and registration: keeper guidance letter


All Scottish pig keepers must comply with the requirements of:

The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) (Scotland) Order 2011

The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2011

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