BPA Logo  
About the BPA Breeds, Clubs & Shows Pedigree Pigs Pedigree Pork

Owning a Pedigree Pig - Government ID rules

Pedigree breeding is all about traceability so pedigree breeders should be setting the standard when it comes to traceability for disease control

The final link in the chain of traceability is the identification of pigs. The current Pigs Records, Identification and Movement Order (PRIMO) rules came into effect on the 6th April 2007

• Pigs of any age moving from your holding to a market of any kind must be permanently identified with the Defra herd mark of your holding.
• Any pigs aged 1 year and over that you move off your holding must be permanently identified with the Defra herdmark of your holding.
• Pigs moving to slaughter are still required to be permanently identified with your Defra herdmark.
• Movements of pigs under 1 year of age between holdings can continue to be identified with a temporary mark.

Identification Marks
To comply with Defra movement rules you apply a permanent herdmark to your pig using an eartag, tattoo or double slapmark. The BPA has additional rules for pedigree identification. Click Here for Pedigree ID Rules

The Defra rules are as follows:

• An eartag must be stamped or printed – not hand written.
• It must contain the letters “UK” followed by your herdmark. For example, “UK AB1234”.
• Tags used for slaughter can be metal or plastic but must be able to withstand carcase processing.
• Tags used for movements between holdings can be plastic and can be combined with your pedigree identification.

A tattoo of your herdmark on the ear. For example, “AB1234”.
• “UK” not needed.
• Requires six digit tattooing pliers.

A permanent ink mark of the herdmark which is applied on each front shoulder area of the pig. For example, “AB1234”.
• Legible for the life of the pig and throughout the processing of its carcase.
• “UK” not needed.
• Not suitable for coloured breeds.

Temporary Mark
• Paintmark on the pig – for example, a red line, black cross or blue circle.
• Must last until the pig reaches its destination.
• Combined with the movement document, the temporary mark identifies the holding from which the pig moved. Only suitable for weaners sold for fattening.

The BPA recommends that all herdbook registered stock moving off your holding for the first time should have a plastic button eartag showing the Defra herdmark, the BPA Herd Designation Letters and the individual ear number. This is in addition to the compulsory pedigree identification applied at birth. Pedigree registered pigs which move to more than one holding such as boars for hire do not have to be retagged for each move provided that the unique individual pedigree identification is recorded on the movement licence. See the BPA leaflets Pedigree Breeding the First Steps and Pedigree Breeding - Selecting the next generation for more details on pedigree identification.


Bob Stevenson MRCVS

Farm Health Plan

Download this template and discuss it with your local vet



FHP Workshop

Download the slide show from Bob's workshop




Bob answers your frequently asked veterinary questions


BPA Leaflet

BPA working with Defra have produced a leaflet covering Responsibilities and Legal Obligations



[back to Owning a Pedigree Pig]  

Downloads & Links Tamworth (4.3k)

Ø Defra pig ID rules
Ø Defra Livestock Identification helpline 0845 050 9876.
Ø Trading Standards Offices
Ø Animal Health Offices - 0844 8844600
Ø Defra Animal Health and Welfare website

Ø Information for members in Northern Ireland
Information for members in Scotland
Information for members in Wales

  Need to contact the BPA?
-mail us at bpa@britishpigs.org. Our office number is 01223 845100, or click here for our full details.
  Feeling lost in our new site?
For the complete contents listing of our new site, click here. Click the logo to return to the home page.