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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Identification and registration of sheep and goats

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Identification and registration of sheep and goats

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 establishing a system for the identification and registration of ovine and caprine animals

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THIS REGULATION?

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

KEY POINTS

  • Each EU country must set up a system for the identification and registration of sheep and goats with the following elements:
    • a means of identification for each animal;
    • registers kept on each holding with information about the holding, the people responsible for the animals, the activity, the type of production and the animals kept;
    • movement documents, to be kept for at least 3 years, but optional if the country has a centralised computer database which includes animal movements;
    • a central register or computer database of all holdings and movements of batches of animals at national level.
  • All sheep and goats must have 2 identifiers with the same unique individual identification number. One must be an electronic identifier (EID).
  • Visible identifiers are conventional eartags, but can also be a mark on the pastern (leg band). A tattoo may also be used as unless the animal is destined for trade between EU countries. Electronic identifiers (EID) are typically an electronic eartags, but a ruminal bolus (an EID which is ingested by the animal and can be scanned can also be used).
  • Animals intended for slaughter before the age of 12 months, not intended for intra-EU trade or export to non-EU countries, may have only 1 visible conventional eartag.
  • Identification tags must display the country of birth and the individual animal code.
  • Identification must be carried out within 6 months of birth and before the animal leaves its holding of origin. It may be extended to 9 months if the animals are kept in extensive or free-range farming conditions. The identification of animals imported from outside the EU must take place within 14 days.
  • EU countries where the total number of sheep and goats is 600,000 or less, or where the total number of goats alone is 160,000 or less, may make electronic identification optional if the animals are not destined for trade between EU countries.
  • EU countries must impose penalties for infringement of the regulation.
  • The regulation will be repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) 2016/429 with effect from 20 April 2021.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It has applied since 29 January 2004 except for Articles 14, 15 and 16 which have applied since 9 July 2005. Certain optional rules became compulsory from 1 January 2010.

* KEY TERMS

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.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Council Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 of 17 December 2003 establishing a system for the identification and registration of ovine and caprine animals and amending Regulation (EC) No 1782/2003 and Directives 92/102/EEC and 64/432/EEC (OJ L 5, 9.1.2004, pp. 8-17)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Commission Decision 2006/968/EC of 15 December 2006 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 as regards guidelines and procedures for the electronic identification of ovine and caprine animals (notified under document number C(2006) 6522) (OJ L 401, 30.12.2006, pp. 41-45)

See consolidated version

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1505/2006 of 11 October 2006 implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 as regards the minimum level of checks to be carried out in relation to the identification and registration of ovine and caprine animals (OJ L 280, 12.10.2006, pp. 3-6)

See consolidated version

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)

last update 04.10.2016

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