EU pig identification rules tightened
An EU Council Directive has been adopted calling for
stringent new standards for pig identification and
The new directive builds on multiple amendments to existing veterinary
legislation, and requires member states to ensure tight control over records of
pig numbers and animal movements.
Competent member state authorities are required to keep
up-to-date lists of all the holdings where pigs are reared, as well as
specifying the keepers. Member states are also obliged by the directive to
ensure that all pig keepers on this list maintain a register detailing the
number of animals present on the holding.
The register should
additionally include an up-to-date record of movements, stating as appropriate
the origin or destination of pigs at the holding, and the date of such
Keepers are also required to supply "all information
concerning the origin, identification and, where appropriate, the destination of
animals which he has owned, kept, transported, marketed or
ensuring no pigs are unmarked and unaccounted for are also the subject of new
The member state list of holdings must include the marks on
the animal which identify the individual holding, until three consecutive years
have elapsed with no animals on the holding.
The directive also states
that identification marks must be applied before animals leave the holding of
birth, with an eartag or tattoo referencing their holding of origin.
This also applies to any animal imported from a third country, which
need to be marked within 30 days of veterinary checks -- and in any event before
being transported away from the first
Exceptions to this are only permitted if pigs are being transported
directly to a slaughterhouse within the member state territory, for slaughter
within 30 days.
The new directive will operate in tandem with more
detailed rules established in the porcine sector for disease eradication and
Alongside identification and traceability concerns,
existing animal health requirements ensure that a harmonised veterinary health
certificate is provided prior to any intra-Community dispatch of pigs, with
additional certification required if the destination is an assembly centre or
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