Cattle movements take place when live cattle move on or off a holding.

First published:
29 March 2019
Last updated:

You must tell the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) about movements within three days and update your herd register within 36 hours.

‘On’ movements must be recorded within 36 hours of the cattle arriving on the holding. ‘Off’ movements must be recorded before the cattle leave the holding.

Examples of cattle movement include:

  • a private sale where an animal moves off one farm and on to another
  • moving from a farm to a slaughterhouse, market, showground or hunt kennel
  • moving from a market or showground to a farm
  • moving between separately managed herds at the same farm

Cattle must have the following in place for movement:

  • official tags
  • valid cattle passport
  • no standstills or other movement restrictions are in force

You must also comply with the general license conditions in Wales.

Cattle born or reared in the UK before August 1996 or cattle without passports are subject to restrictions. You must apply for a special licence from BCMS to move them.

How you report cattle movements

A number of methods are available to report cattle movements. You can do any one of the following:

  • report movements online to BCMS
  • report movements by telephone to BCMS Helpline: 0345 050 3456
  • report movements using farm software
  • ask an agent or ask if your market can report the movement for you*

BCMS helpline opening times are Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm. They are closed on weekends and bank holidays. All calls are charged at local rates.

*Please check if the market offers this service. If not, please make sure to report the movement yourself.

Farm Software

Farm software is an online tool to help with the following:

  • keep your farm records up to date
  • send information regarding births, movements, and deaths directly to CTS at a time that suits you
  • send information in a secure, reliable way and with a confirmation receipt
  • easily check information for errors.

No internet access?

If your farm has no internet access you can report information to CTS using an automated phone service.
• Welsh - 0345 011 1213
• English - 0345 011 1212
Both lines are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week

As the keeper, the responsibility remains with you to report any movements to BCMS within three days.

Failure to report

Failure to report cattle movements within the three-days mentioned above can result in:

  • penalties
  • a reduction to cross-compliance subsidy claims.

These failures will become apparent during:

  • any cattle inspections
  • missing information on CTS, or
  • when the history of animal movement is checked.