Animal Movement

Information For Farmers On Animal Movements

There are two main records of animal movements that livestock owners need to keep. The first are record books (either physical or kept using a compliant computer system) that are kept on the farm and details all movements of different types of animals on and off a holding.

The second type are movement licenses for Pigs, Sheep/Goats, and Deer, and Cattle Passports for Bovines. Currently holders of Sheep/Goats, and Deer are required to complete paper AML forms, which need to be returned to their local government offices. However from April 1st 2014, holders will be required to use the centralised ARAMS (Animal Records and Movement Service) instead, administered by Southwestern. You can find out more information about this change below.

Registering New Flocks/Herds

Whether you keep one animal (of a species that is classed as livestock) as a pet or a commercial flock/herd you need to apply for a County Parish Holding (CPH) number for the land where the livestock will be kept from the RPA Registry on 0845 6037777.

Once you have your CPH you need to register for the type of stock you are going to keep with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (formerly Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency) on 01392 266373.

APHA (formerly AHVLA) will register your stock and send keepers a registration document containing your personal details, CPH number and a unique Defra flock/herd mark. Livestock must be registered with APHA within 30 days of arrival onto the premises.  It is a requirement that you register to keep each type of stock as you go along – e.g. If you start off with sheep and then want to keep goats, you will need to call and register to keep goats.

Farm Records/Movement Licences

All livestock keepers are required by law to keep records of all their livestock movements, births and deaths.  This is to ensure that livestock is both identifiable and traceable. Should there be another animal disease outbreak such as Foot & Mouth, Avian Flu or Swine Vesicular disease it will be vital to know where livestock is located, where it has travelled from or where it has gone to. Your records will hold the answers, so it is important that they are up to date and correct. It is our responsibility to encourage you to ensure that these records are maintained accurately.

The Disease Control Order requires all movements of bovine, sheep, goats, pigs and deer to be notified to the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The information from all the databases are fed through to one system called the Animal Movement Licensing System database so that in the event of a disease outbreak all stock are traceable to enable effective measures to be put in place to control and eradicate highly contagious animal diseases.

Different systems are used for different types of animals. They are:

Bovine = BCMS
Movements are recorded and monitored by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) via the use of cattle passports.

The BCMS must be informed of cattle movements within 3 days. Cattle born before 1st August 1996 must not be moved off your holding except under the authority of a licence granted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (formerly Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency).

Since 1 August 2011 cheque book style cattle passports are no longer being issued. Instead the document will comprise a single page passport. Movements for these animals will need to be reported online or by telephone. See the new cattle keepers handbook (PDF document) for more information.

Pigs (inc. micro, feral etc.) = BPEX
Following the implementation of The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2011, the paper AML2 pig movement document has been replaced by the electronic BPEX eAML2 system.

For farm to slaughter moves, it also combines the AML2 and Food Chain Information (FCI) forms into one. The new system provides for pre-notification of all moves (as per Pigs, (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2011, Art. 12(1)) with limited exceptions.

Keepers who have access to a computer and internet access can set up and pre-notify movements onto the new e-AML2 system themselves. Pig keepers without computer and internet access can set up an electronic move through the BPEX bureau service (operated by MLCSL), marketing groups or the British Pig Association (BPA). This can be done via phone, fax or post. You must give them at least 24-hours-notice to enable the haulier paperwork to be returned to you prior to the stock moving.

The use of paper AML2 for pigs is no longer permitted

The MLCSL bureau will provide a free service to complete eAML2 movements on behalf of non-IT enabled farmers. These movements must be pre-notified to them. For registration, further information and advice telephone 0844 335 8400 or email:

Sheep, Goats & Deer = Local Authority
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is due to change on the 1 April 2014 to Southwestern. You can find out more information about this further down this page.

All Sheep, Goats & Deer movements must be done by completing an AML1 document.  This document must accompany the stock through every part of their journey to make the movement legal.

This document comes in four parts:

  • Departure Holding (yellow part):
    The holder (normally a farmer) is responsible for supplying the AML and completing section 1, as well as the basic haulier information. They should remove the back copy (yellow), which is to remain on the holding for at least 6 months, unless it is being used as part of their movement book (and should therefore be kept longer).
  • Haulier (blue part):
    Once the journey is complete the person responsible for the transportation of the livestock must finish completing section 2 of the AML and then remove the back copy (blue) and retain this for their records.  Livestock must be transported in a vehicle which can be cleansed and disinfected.
  • Designation Holding (white and pink parts):
    The holding where the livestock has been transported to needs to complete the last section of the license and send the top copy (white) to Devon & Somerset Trading Standards, Devon County Council, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD.  This must be done within three days of the movement happening, failure to do this is a breach of legislations.  When purchasing stock which are double tagged with an electronic identification tag, you may be given a print out of the tag numbers.  It is important that a copy of this is attached to the white copy of the AML and posted in. You should keep the pink copy of the license yourself  for at least 6 months, unless it is being used as a movement book (when it should be kept for longer).

General Licenses For The Movement Of Livestock

You will need to keep and retain a copy of the general license for the animal species that you farm as it informs you of the legal requirements associated with any movement of animals that you undertake. It does not accompany the livestock. You can find copies here.

The Five-mile Rule No Longer Applies

Until 2010, many movements within five miles of the main holding (such as to separate rented land) did not have to be recorded. This is no longer true. All movements of sheep and goats on and off any land not recorded under your main CPH (Holding) number must be reported using a Movement Document (AML1) and recorded in your Holding Register. This includes all rented land, regardless of distance, even if it is within five miles or registered as a Sole Occupancy Authority (S.O.A).

Movement Record Books

All animal movements onto or off of (and sometimes between different distinct areas of) a holding need to be recorded by the holder in a record book. These are kept and maintained by a farmer and can be inspected at any time by Defra or Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards. However you are less likely to get a Trading Standards visit to inspect your records if you return them to us by post when requested.

Devon & Somerset Livestock keepers can get free movement books, and advice on how to record information can be obtained from the Defra Helpline. You are able to request free movement books by post or download them on this page.  You can also pick them up at most markets or shows.

It is not compulsory to use our record books. Records can be kept either on a computer of in any suitable movement book. However it is vital that all the necessary information set down by legislation is recorded. You can find out exactly what needs to be recorded in movement books for different livestock species on this page.

NEW LEGISLATION FOR SHEEP AND GOATS IS DUE TO COME INTO FORCE ON 1st April 2014.  More details further down this page.

6 & 20-Day Standstills

Except under very special circumstances, after a movement of livestock onto a farm, a standstill period needs to be observed, during which no stock is allowed to be moved off the holding. You can find out more about there by clicking here.

Why do Trading Standards recall your Movement Records by post?

Livestock keepers are required by law to keep records of all their livestock movements, births and deaths. This is to ensure that livestock is both identifiable and traceable. Should there be another animal disease outbreak such as Foot & Mouth, Avian Flu or Swine Vesicular disease it will be vital to know where livestock is located, where it has travelled from or where it has gone to. Your records will hold the answers so it is important that they are up to date and correct. It is our responsibility to encourage you to ensure that these records are maintained accurately.

One way of doing this would be for us to visit all livestock keepers to check their records, however, having listened to farmers who regularly say that they get too many visits from government agencies, we decided to tackle the task using a different approach. If records are sent back to us it is unlikely that you will receive a visit from us. Where we do not receive returns then we will have to make a visit to the farm.

You will see that the books supplied free of charge by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards are duplicate so that when you receive a request from us, the blue pages can be removed and returned. We give you a pre-paid envelope to return the records.

The postal movement records scheme also recognises that many livestock keepers use other ways of recording animal movements, such as a computer programme or the online ARAMS herd/flock register. If livestock keepers are happy with their own system and that it covers all the required fields (you can find out more about what fields are necessary here) then we don’t want to change it. Instead, when you get a request for a copy, you can send a printout or a photocopy back to us.

Further guidance can be obtained from the Defra Helpline on 0845 933 5577 or the GOV.UK website.

From April 1st, 2014 ARAMS Will Replace AMLs For Sheep, Goats & Deer

From April 1st, 2014, ARAMS is the service livestock holders will use to log movements of sheep, goats and deer. It replaces the previous AML system. The ARAMS service allows you to register on the ARAMS website and then log movements online ahead of the move of sheep, goats or deer. Those who wish to continue using paper forms (such as farmers who have no access to the internet) can do so, although these will now be administered by SouthWestern rather than your local authority.

Take a look below for info information about the new system, or head over to the ARAMS website.

Online movements:

Keepers who wish to create movements electronically will be able to register an account on the ARAMS website from April 2014. This will allow them to set up a movement (e.g. farm-farm, farm-market, farm-abattoir etc.) online. A pre-populated movement document will then be printed, to accompany the animals during transport. In the case of a farm-to-farm move, if the receiving keeper is also registered on the ARAMS system, they will be able to confirm receipt of the movement through their online account.

Online Flock / Herd Register:

The system will provide a voluntary online flock / herd register for keepers who use the e-reporting service. This will be free of charge. Creating an ‘off’ movement or confirming receipt of an ‘on’ movement will automatically update that ARAMS online flock / herd register.

For those farmers who already have a Farm Management Package (FMP), they can either continue to use their FMP for creating movement documents or they will have the option of linking their FMP to SouthWestern’s ARAMS system and thereby ensuring that the movements are created electronically. Similarly if they confirm receipt of a movement on their FMP, this will also update the ARAMS electronic database, once the FMP is linked to the ARAMS system.

Paper Movements:

For farmers who wish to continue reporting sheep/goat/deer movements on paper, SouthWestern will provide a centralised recording service (bureau) based in Milton Keynes. This bureau will take over the paper recording service from every Local Authority in England on the 1st April 2014. Therefore rather than posting the current AML1 form to their Local Authority, keepers will instead post the new movement document to the SouthWestern bureau. New movement documents are currently being designed. These will replace the current AML1 (Sheep & Goats) and AML24 (Deer) forms. These will be very similar to the current forms.

From the 1st April 2014, farmers wishing to complete movements on paper will be required to use these new documents. They will continue to be distributed through markets and will also be available (from April 2014) by contacting the SouthWestern office. Farmers will also have the option of populating a PDF version on-line, via the ARAMS website, and printing it out locally or indeed printing out the PDF version unpopulated and populating it by hand.

Cross-Border movements:

It is important to note that this new service is for keepers (premises) based in England only. A system (ScotEID) is already in place within Scotland. The Welsh Government is also planning a similar system to operate there.

From 1st April 2014, keepers within England who wish to create a cross-border movement will use either:

The appropriate new movement form, if they wish to create the movement on paper

The new database, if they wish to set up the movement electronically. Where a cross-border movement is created electronically, the SouthWestern database will pass this information electronically to either ScotEID or the new Welsh system when operational. For electronic movements coming into England, the relevant database in the departure country will pass all details to the SouthWestern database allowing the receiving keeper to confirm receipt electronically if they so wish.

A separate process will be formalised for cross-border movements which occur on paper. Farmers within England who are sending sheep to a Scottish / Welsh destination will use the new movement document (from 1st April 2014) that is applicable in England. Where the receiving keeper is based in England, and he/she is confirming receipt of sheep/goats/deer from

Scotland or Wales, he/she will post that movement form to the SouthWestern bureau as confirmation of receipt.

You can find out more about the new ARAMS sytem on the service’s website.
New DEFRA guidance on Identifying and recording sheep and goats
ARAMS Guidance leaflet