Changes to GB-NI livestock movement rules

Date published: 19 January 2021

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is advising livestock keepers about the rules for the identification of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats following the end of the EU exit transition period.


There is no change to the way keepers identify livestock born on NI holdings. Keepers should continue to use existing tags and new-born animals will continue to identified with UK prefixed tags and DAERA issued numbers.

NI livestock can move to any part of GB with their current form of ID/tag. However GB keepers who now wish to sell or move livestock to a NI keeper will need to apply an 'export tag' to the animal which must be printed with the country code GB. The exporting keeper in GB can apply for these export tags through their normal tag suppliers.

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, Great Britain is classified as a third country and under EU law, animals from a third country must be identified upon arrival on the destination holding with a unique identification code related to the holding of destination. Therefore, all livestock moving from GB to NI, for breeding and production purposes, will need to be re-tagged with a NI ID/ tag by the NI keeper.

Sheep and goats must be re-identified within 14 days of arriving in NI, cattle within 20 days of arriving in NI and pigs within 30 days and in all cases before leaving the holding of destination in NI.

Animals which arrived from GB before 01/01/2021 will not be affected and will retain their current ID. Similarly, livestock moving direct to slaughter from GB will not need re-tagged. Animals coming from the Republic of Ireland or another EU member state will retain their original form of ID and do not need to be retagged.

More information on the rules surrounding the identification of animals.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The prefixes on tags of UK 9 for cattle / UK 17 for sheep will still be used.
  2. For animals entering NI from GB after 01/01/2021, GB-issued, UK prefixed livestock IDs are not authorised identities under European law and must be replaced with IDs issued in NI upon arrival.
  3. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office:

Share this page

Back to top