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In the guide
What the law says about taking cattle to shows and the need for passports
This guidance is for England
All cattle born since 1 July 1996 are required to have a passport. Those born before that date are required to have a certificate of registration.
A valid passport (and movement document if appropriate) must accompany cattle taken to a show. The movement to the show must be recorded. Without the correct documents, the show secretary will not be able to accept the animals, report movements to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) or record movement details in the passport.
The movement details are to be reported within 36 hours of the movement taking place.
Under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007 all cattle born since 1 July 1996 are required to have a passport. The passport will be one of the following:
More information on types and requirements of cattle passports can be found on GOV.UK.
Cattle born prior to 1 July 1996 should be in possession of a COR document only. However, it should be noted that cattle born before 1 August 1996 have been restricted under the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) Regulations 2018 to the premises where they were located due to their age and consequent TSE risk; as such, all keepers of cattle of this age have been issued with restriction notices. Keepers wishing to move such animals must submit a movement licence application form, completed by both parties involved in the movement, to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) One Health Customer Service Centre in Worcester. Further information can be found in the cattle without passports section of the GOV.UK website.
The relevant passport or movement document for cattle born since 1 July 1996 must accompany the animal to the show.
All cattle must be correctly identified with Defra-approved ear tags before leaving a holding, including attending a show or gathering. In particular, cattle born after 14 April 1998 must be identified with a pair of Defra-approved ear tags. For more information see 'Requirements for cattle identification'.
Recording the movement of cattle to shows
One-page A4-style passports (CPP52):
Green passports and certificates of registration:
Cattle movement details must be reported within 36 hours of the movement taking place. For cattle that have single-page passports, one of the following methods must be used for reporting your movements:
The above methods may also be used for cattle that have chequebook-style passports or certificates of registration; alternatively, record the details in your herd book within 36 hours and send completed movement cards to BCMS.
These electronic services should be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information on reporting movements is available on the GOV.UK website.
Note: some show organisers will carry out the 'on' and 'off' movement notification electronically, especially if animals move on to and off the showground on different days; therefore they may not remove a movement card from your chequebook-style passport, but will still fix a barcode and sign and date the passport.
It is important to report the actual movement dates for each animal, and not the show dates. Failure to report the actual movement date is a criminal offence and may cause gaps in the animal's movement history, which could make the passport invalid.
Cattle Tracing System (CTS) links have now been phased out. You can, instead, apply for a temporary land association. Particular care should be taken to accurately record cattle movements if moving cattle from a historically linked premises. More information on the registering of land you use to keep livestock can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Animal health inspectors may carry out spot checks at the show. Please remember to bring completed passports for cattle (where applicable), as non-compliance could result in formal action.
Further guidance for show secretaries can be found on the GOV.UK website, including advice for recording movements for one-day shows and shows of more than one day.
If you are organising an exhibition, show or trade stand that includes livestock, please remember this may constitute an 'animal gathering' and would consequently need a pre-approved licence. APHA provides guidance to support best practice at these events and ensure that essential biosecurity measures are carried out. More information can be found on the animal gatherings page of the GOV.UK website or in 'Animal gatherings'.
Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement & penalties'.
Last reviewed / updated: June 2019
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.