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Know the law on transportation of livestock (sheep and goats)

Updated: Jan 20, 2019

Animal welfare during transport

The welfare of animals during transport is protected by EU legislation.

Introduction to the regulations

“No person shall transport animals or cause animals to be transported in a way that is likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them” (Source: Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending directives).

(Information in the following article is directly from gov.uk.)

All persons who take animals on a journey, whatever the length, should always apply good transport practice, making sure:

  • the journey is properly planned and time is kept to a minimum and the animals are checked and their needs met during the journey

  • the animals are fit to travel

  • the vehicle and loading and unloading facilities are designed, constructed and maintained to avoid injury and suffering

  • those handling animals are trained or competent in the task and do not use violence or any methods likely to cause unnecessary fear, injury or suffering


Sheep and goats: health regulations

Diseases and health problems in sheep and goats, including foot and mouth disease (FMD), scrapie and lead poisoning.


As a sheep or goat farmer, it’s essential that you take the necessary steps to protect the health of your livestock. Whilst maintaining good health is important to ensure acceptable standards of animal welfare, such measures will also maximise the productivity of your flock or herd.

This guide has information about the main diseases affecting sheep and goats, including notifiable diseases, which must be reported. It covers general disease prevention and legal controls to prevent specific risks, such as the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD), as well as covering your legal responsibilities relating to hormonal treatments, the use of antibiotics and keeping medicinal records.

For specific advice relating to the animal welfare aspects of good flock or herd management, see the related guide on sheep and goat welfare.

Critical illnesses of sheep and goats

Looking after your animals properly and monitoring them regularly for signs of illness are the best ways of preventing disease, and of controlling its spread if there is an outbreak.

Disease prevention and control for sheep and goats

Monitoring your livestock and following good farming practices are the best ways to reduce the risk of disease among your sheep or goats. You can find out more in the guide on the basics of controlling disease.

Buying, registering and moving sheep and goats

There are rules in place which you must follow for registering sheep or goats, and when moving them. These procedures make it easier to trace and identify infected animals in the event of a disease outbreak. For more information, see the guide on sheep and goats identification, registration and movement.

Keeping sheep, goats

You need to register your holding

Find out how to register your holding, record and report animal movements, and about any restrictions after animals arrive on your holding.

Further reading:


Who’s responsible

You don’t have to own animals to be a keeper. You’re a sheep, goat, pig or deer keeper if you have responsibility for the day-to-day care and control of these animals. This includes a single animal kept temporarily or as a pet.

There are also movement restrictions that apply when sheep, goats or pigs arrive on your holding. Find out about standstill restrictions after:

General licences for moving sheep, goats and pigs

When you move sheep, goats or pigs, you’re moving them under these general licences.

You don’t need to apply for these licences and as long as you follow the guidance on moving animals in this collection, you’ll be meeting their conditions.

When to identify sheep and goats

You must identify your sheep and goats:

  • within 6 months of birth if they’re housed overnight

  • within 9 months of birth if they’re not housed overnight

  • before you move them off their holding of birth if this is sooner

In an emergency you can take an unidentified animal off your holding to visit a vet, but you must:

  • identify the animal as soon as it’s back on your holding

  • record the move to the vet in your holding register

Your sheep or goats will be rejected if they aren’t correctly identified when they arrive at a market.

Further reading: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sheep-and-goat-keepers-how-to-identify-your-animals

Sheep and goat keepers: how to report animal movements

You must provide details of any movement of sheep or goats to or from your farm to the Animal Reporting and Movement Service (ARAMS) or you can call the ARAMS helpline from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday:

Telephone: 08445 730 137

You don’t need to tell ARAMS if the movement is to or from:

  • a vet (for emergency treatment)

  • land with the same County/Parish/Holding (CPH) number

  • land bordering your holding with a different CPH number, where you send or receive animals from frequently, on foot and without contact with other livestock (find out how to record these moves in a holding register)

  • common land bordering your holding that you’ve registered as linked to your holding

Contact the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) helpline to apply to link your holding to a common.

Telephone: 03459 33 55 77

Options for making reports and notifications

Movements of animals onto your farm are called ‘on-movements’. Notices of on-movements are called ‘reports’.

Movements of animals off your farm are called ‘off-movements’. Notices of off-movements are called ‘notifications’.

Further reading: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sheep-and-goat-keepers-how-to-report-animal-movements

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