Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
Identification and registration of pigs

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Multilingual display

Identification and registration of pigs



Directive 2008/71/EC on the identification and registration of pigs


It aims to ensure the traceability* of pigs by requiring European Union (EU) countries to put in place a uniform identification and registration system.


  • EU countries must put in place a system to identify groups of pigs so that their origin and movements between holdings may be traced.
  • The directive does not apply to wild pigs, and derogation may be granted to holdings keeping a single pig for their own use, provided the animal satisfies the veterinary, physical and administrative provisions of Directive 90/425/EEC.
  • The system of identification and registration requires:
    • an eartag or tattoo identifying the group of pigs to determine the holding of birth and any subsequent holdings, applied as soon as possible, and before animals leave the holding of its birth;
    • a registerat each holding of pigs and their movements, to be kept for at least 3 years;
    • a national centralised computer database containing pig holdings, the identifications of groups of pigs and their movements.
  • Any information relating to pig movements not accompanied by a certificate or a document required by veterinary or zootechnical legislation must be made available to the authorities on request, for a minimum period to be decided.
  • Animals sent by a non-EU country for slaughter in the EU do not necessarily have to be identified under this directive if they pass EU veterinary checks on live imports and are then slaughtered within 30 days.
  • EU countries must apply penalties for infringement of the directive.
  • The directive will be repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) 2016/429 with effect from 20 April 2021.


This codified version (Directive 2008/71/EC) is a new act containing the original act (Directive 92/102/EEC) and its subsequent amendments. It has applied since 28 August 2008. EU countries had to incorporate Directive 92/102/EEC into national law by 31 December 1993.


Traceability: the ability to track any food, feed, food-producing animal or substance that will be used for consumption, through all stages of production, processing and distribution.


Council Directive 2008/71/EC of 15 July 2008 on the identification and registration of pigs (Codified version) (OJ L 213, 8.8.2008, pp. 31-36)


Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (‘Animal Health Law’) (OJ L 84, 31.3.2016, pp. 1-208)

Council Directive 90/425/EEC of 26 June 1990 concerning veterinary and zootechnical checks applicable in intra-Community trade in certain live animals and products with a view to the completion of the internal market (OJ L 224, 18.8.1990, pp. 29-41)

Successive amendments to Directive 90/425/EEC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 05.10.2016