In April 1997 - in response to the BSE crisis - the Council of the European Union implemented a system of permanent identification of individual bovine animals enabling reliable traceability from birth to death.
The basic objectives for Community rules on the identification of bovine animals are:
the localisation and tracing of animals for veterinary purposes, which is of crucial importance for the control of infectious diseases
the traceability of beef for public health reasons
the management and supervision of livestock premiums as part of the common organisation of the market in beef and veal
The system for the identification and registration of individual bovine animals includes the following elements:
double eartags for each animal with an individual number
maintaining a register on each holding (farm, market, etc.)
- a computerised database at national level with a future voluntary interoperability of bovine databases
To enhance food safety and better safeguard animal health in the EU as from 18 July 2019 the bovine animals will be allowed to be identified using two means of the identifications: conventional ear tag and an electronic identifier. Member State and operators may choose the electronic identifier amongst e.g. an electronic ear tag, a ruminal bolus or an injectable transponder.
An annual report on the inspections and functioning of the system in accordance with Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 1082/2003 is to be submitted to the Commission by each Member State electronically on the following address: SANTE-ID-REPORTS@ec.europa.eu.
|Basic Regulation: Regulation (EC) 1760/2000|
|Detailed rules on eartags, holding registers, passports: Regulation (EC) 911/2004|
|Control measures: Regulation (EC) 1082/2003|
|Sanctions: Regulation (EC) 494/98|
Derogations and specific measures
Bulls intended for cultural and sporting events: Regulation (EC) 2680/99
|Summer grazing in mountain areas: Commission Decision 2001/672/EC|
|Extension of the tagging period of certain animals kept under extensive conditions: Commission Decision 2006/28/EC|
|Special rules concerning extension of the tagging period of bisons: Regulation (EC) 509/1999|
|Extension of the maximum period laid down for the application of eartags to certain bovine animals kept in nature reserves in the Netherlands: Commission Decision 2004/764/EC|
|Identification of bovine animals kept for cultural and historical purposes on approved premises: Commission Regulation (EC) No 644/2005|
Member States information
To view the list of Member States information, click here