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Identification and registration of pigs

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Identification and registration of pigs

The identification and registration of pigs is a system of traceability which is of crucial importance for the control of infectious diseases. In particular, this system allows each animal to be individually identified and the holding of origin or where it came from to be traced.


Council Directive 2008/71/EC of 15 July 2008 on the identification and registration of pigs.


Pigs must be identified and registered so as to trace the original or transit holding *, centre or organisation for intra-Community trade or the movements of animals within national territory.

The scope of this Directive extends to all pigs, excluding feral pigs, i.e. those neither held nor kept in a holding. A derogation may be granted to holdings that keep one single animal intended for their own use or consumption, provided that the animal satisfies the veterinary and zootechnical checks laid down in Directive 90/425/EEC.

The system of identification and registration of pigs is based on the following elements:

  • an eartag or a tattoo;
  • the keeping of a register on each holding;
  • a national computer database in accordance with Decision 2000/678/EC.

The database includes all holdings that keep pigs on the national territory. This database is kept up-to-date and gives details of the mark(s) used to identify the holding. Information regarding holdings is kept until three years have elapsed with no animals on the holding.

Keepers * of pigs keep a register in which they indicate the number of animals on their holding and information relating to the movements of these animals (origin, destination and the date of such movements). Registers may be consulted upon request by the competent authority * for a period determined by the said authority, but which may not be less than three years.

Marks must be applied as soon as possible, and in all cases before animals leave the holding of birth. The approval of the competent authority is necessary in order to replace the mark where it has become illegible or has been lost. In order to establish a link with the previous mark applied to the animal, the new mark shall be recorded in the register which must be maintained up-to-date by the keeper.

For all movements of animals on the territory of Member States, a national system allowing the holding of provenance or of birth of animals may be applied. It should first be notified to the Commission in order to establish its conformity with Community regulations.

All keepers of animals on a temporary basis must provide a document to determine the origin, owner and place of departure and destination of the animals. Any information relating to movements of animals not accompanied by a certificate or a document required by veterinary or zootechnical legislation must remain available to the competent authority, for a minimum period to be set by the latter.

Any animal imported by a third country to be slaughtered on Community territory does not necessarily have to be identified by a mark in accordance with this Directive if it passes the veterinary checks laid down for animals coming from third countries and if it is slaughtered within thirty days after having passed those tests.

In cases of infringement of this Directive concerning the identification of animals or the keeping of the register, sanctions will be applied by Member States.


Since 1 January 1993, identification and registration systems have allowed monitoring of intra-Community movements of animals to be strengthened in accordance with Directive 90/425/EEC.

This Directive repeals Directive 92/102/EEC, amended several times, in 1995 and in 2005.

Key terms of the Act

  • Holding: any establishment, construction or, in the case of an open-air farm, any place in which animals are held, kept or handled.
  • Keeper: any natural or legal person responsible, even on a temporary basis, for animals.
  • Competent authority: the central authority of a Member State competent to carry out veterinary checks or any authority to which it has delegated that competence for the purposes of implementing this Directive.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2008/71/EC



OJ L 213 of 8.8.2008

Last updated: 15.10.2008