Sheep and goat identification and traceability: guidance for keepers in Scotland

Guidance for keepers on complying with the requirements to identify, record and report movements of sheep and goats.

Section 7: Sheep and goat identification inspections

Why we have inspections

RPID carry out sheep and goat inspections. We must inspect 3% of holdings and 5% of animals each year. Other bodies such as Animal Health and local authorities may also carry out inspections.

What the inspector does

The aim of the inspection is to make sure that the requirements of identification and traceability for sheep and goats, are understood and being complied with.

Inspectors will count all the animals kept by the business and verify the accuracy of the records by comparing the number of animals that should be present on the holding with the number actually found. The identification of a representative sample of 60 animals will be checked on each holding, with an extended sample inspected where any problems are found.

The inspector will compare the records to the information supplied to SAMU, the movement documents and purchase and sales invoices.

The inspector will also confirm whether each of the five key requirements of identification and traceability legislation have been complied with. The key requirements are:

1. Record keeping;
2. Tagging;
3. Keeper registration (with AHDO);
4. Completion of movement documents;
5. Notifying moves to SAMU.

Full explanation of each of the requirements can be found in the earlier sections of this guidance.

What you have to do

We are required to carry out inspections unannounced. An inspector will normally start by checking the records and other farm documents. You will be given a reasonable amount of time to present your animals for inspection. You must present all your animals, your records and other documents relevant to the inspection. You must make sure that the inspector can safely inspect your animals. You must provide suitable handling facilities and, if necessary, people to gather the animals.

How long an inspection takes

The time an inspection takes will depend on the number of animals involved and the quality of your records. You can reduce the amount of time that an inspection is likely to take by making sure your records and documents are always up to date, logically laid out and close at hand. The aim is to carry out inspections as quickly and efficiently as possible.

How we choose farms for inspection

Holdings to be inspected are selected either at random from the central register of holdings on which sheep are kept, or selected on the basis of risk analysis. The risk factors considered include for example, the number of animals on the holding, the results of previous inspections, failure to return the annual inventory, length of time since last inspection and frequency of late notification of movements.

Action taken as a result of the inspection

At the conclusion of the inspection, the inspector will discuss the findings with you. You will be given opportunity to make comment and sign the inspection report. Within a month of the inspection being completed, you will receive an inspection results letter detailing the findings. You will be required to take action to rectify any problems found.

Where there has been failure to comply with identification and traceability regulations we will take enforcement action. The action can range from the issue of guidance to passing a report to the local authority, for consideration of prosecution. In some cases, a movement restriction may be served on the holding, until such time as any problems are rectified. A restriction would prevent any movements to or from the holding, except under licence.

Where the non-compliances found form part of the requirements of Cross Compliance, a penalty in the form of a percentage reduction in payments due to the business, will be applied. The reduction is applied to payments for direct support schemes, including the Single Farm Payment and certain schemes approved under the Scottish Rural Development Plan, including LFASS. Where this is the case, a Cross Compliance breach letter will be issued, informing you of the penalty that results from your sheep or goat inspection. The results of other checks and inspections may also affect your final penalty calculation.

Further information on the breaches that are subject to the requirements of Cross Compliance and the penalty matrix that dictates the penalty applied can be found at



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