Exporting Uk livestock to the EU after a no deal Brexit.
How your livestock intended for EU export need to be identified after Brexit.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal and trades with Member States as a third
country, we will have to change the alpha country code printed on the ear tags of live
animals exported to EU Member States.
The UK currently uses the identifier ‘UK’ in accordance with EU rules for Member
States. On exit, as a third country we would need to include an official ISO country
Official ISO codes for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are
‘GB’ (or ‘GBR’) and the numeric code ‘826’. Livestock intended for export to the EU
must therefore be identified with an ear tag which meets this ISO identification
What do I need to do if I want to export livestock to the EU?
For sheep: No change to existing rules for export
Sheep are currently double tagged with UK ear tags, and one of these will be an
electronic identification (EID) tag. The numeric ISO code for Great Britain and
Northern Ireland (826) is already encoded in all UK sheep EID tags. There is
therefore no need for an additional EU export tag. Sheep can continue to be
identified as they are at present with double tags, one of which is an EID tag which
will have the ISO code.
For cattle: Use an additional export tag and return passport to BCMS
Cattle are currently double tagged with ear tags which bear the country code UK and
the animal’s individual ID number. Cattle for export to the EU will need an additional
export tag bearing the ISO country identifier (GB or 826). The export tag does not
need to include the animal’s individual ID number. There are no requirements as to
the type of tag (e.g. flag tag, button tag) or its colour for this additional tag.
Cattle will no longer need to be accompanied by their passport on export to a
Member State. Keepers in Great Britain will need to return the passports to BCMS
within 7 days of export. Keepers in Northern Ireland will no longer need to request a
passport for cattle for export.
For pigs: Export ear tag must read GB or 826
Currently pigs are usually batch identified by their herd mark, using double slap
marks (shoulder tattoos). Some pigs such as those for show or moved to Artificial
Insemination centres may be individually identified, usually with a single ear tag. On
export, pigs are currently identified with an export ear tag or ear tattoo bearing UK
plus the animal’s herd mark and an individual number. Following exit, for exports to
the EU, the ear tag or ear tattoo will need to read GB or 826 plus the animal’s herd
mark and an individual number.
Goats are currently double tagged. The use of an EID tag within the UK is voluntary,
but for export they must currently be electronically identified. Following exit, for
export to the EU if a goat is electronically identified then, as per the export rules for
sheep, the ISO code encoded on the chip can be used as the means of
identification. If a goat is identified with a conventional (non-EID) pair of tags then an
export tag with the ISO country identifier GB or 826 should be applied.
Where do I get these tags?
Your regular ear tag supplier will be able to provide these tags. You should tell them
that they are for animals intended for export to the EU.
Your ear tag supplier will print the tags and deliver them to you in the usual way, and
you can then apply the tags to the animal. You should record that you have done so
in your holding register. The animal can then be moved to export as normal.
You should allow 3-6 days for this process, to allow time for your tag supplier to
produce and deliver your tags.