Introduction to Identification, Registration and Movement of Animals

This section contains information related to the identification, registration and movement (IRM) of animals. The identification and tracing of animals for veterinary purposes is of crucial importance for the control of infectious diseases.

Changes to livestock identification tag codes

(updated 13th June 2024)

The prefix code on Northern Ireland livestock tags is set to change from ‘UK’ to ‘XI’. 

Following the necessary amendments to the Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System (NIFAIS), and appropriate testing by industry, including tag suppliers, tag software providers, markets and abattoirs, roll out of the new ‘XI’ prefix livestock tags will begin week commencing 24 June 2024.  Tags bearing the new ‘XI’ prefix will be available to purchase from then and can be used immediately, and ‘UK’ prefix tags will no longer be available for purchase.

Existing stocks of ‘UK’ tags held by livestock keepers can continue to be used alongside the new ‘XI’ prefix tags until the final switchover date expected in January 2025.  DAERA is currently finalising plans for the final switchover and the date will be confirmed to livestock keepers in due course.

This change, which is a legal requirement under EU Animal Health Law, will ensure continued unfettered access (subject to normal export eligibility requirements) to both EU and UK internal markets for our livestock and agri-food products. It will also help prepare for the introduction of bovine electronic identification in the future.

To help prepare for the change, keepers are advised that they should not order large quantities of ‘UK’ tags that cannot be used from January 2025.

Please see “Tag prefix changes Q&A” for further details. This will be updated as implementation plans are finalised.

Show guidance

Detailed in the guidance below are the requirements relating to the movement of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry into and out of local Agricultural Shows during the 2024 Show season.

Agricultural show guidance 2024


The 6-day whole-farm standstill restriction no longer applies from Monday 4 March 2013. From this date, animals moved onto a holding will not cause movement restrictions for other animals on the holding. This relaxation will allow livestock to move more freely between holdings.

For disease control and animal welfare purposes an animal cannot move to a market if that animal has been in a market in the last 6 days.

Keepers who move cattle, pigs, goats and sheep must comply with the conditions of the revised general movement licence when moving livestock within Northern Ireland.

Application for Animal Group Number

Application and registration of Cattle Herd, Sheep Flock, Goat and Pig Herds, Horses, Poultry and other Registration Numbers.

Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System (NIFAIS)

NIFAIS will replace APHIS which has been in operation since 1999 and is approaching the end of its natural life span and support contract. The NIFAIS programme was established to procure, develop and implement a new system utilising the most up-to-date technologies which will be flexible, adaptable and future proofed. NIFAIS will build upon the already world leading functionality that APHIS currently delivers and enable DAERA to move forward with new advances in IT.

NIFAIS customer feedback

We asked our customers for feedback on APHIS and what they would like NIFAIS to do.

We appreciate the input and want to thank all who supplied us with feedback. We welcome your comments and suggestions that might help us to make improvements to our service.

You can contact us by clicking on the following link

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