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The Inspection

These are predominantly run by the RPA, or may be contracted out to inspectors who work for Hallmark. Occasionally inspections may be run by someone from the APHA (Animal & Plant Health Agency).


20% of cattle inspections are randomly selected farms, the other 80% are risk based. If you have passed two consecutive inspections, you will not be selected for risk.

Inspectors will check:

  • that your holding register shows which animals are on or have been on the holding
  • that you have recorded all births, movements and deaths correctly
  • that all animals are correctly tagged, and that their tags match their identification documents
  • that all identification documents are present and correct
  • that you have met the deadlines for identifying cattle and keeping records
  • that all identification documents for animals that have moved have been sent to the new keeper
  • that all the information of dead animals have been returned to BCMS
  • that you are storing all unused ear tags securely

You must provide adequate handling systems and labour to enable to the inspector to check each cow’s tags.

Herd/Holding registers must be retained for 10 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last entry was made. 


A sample of 60 sheep will have their tags read (or the whole flock if the number is less than 60) by the inspector. These will have their tags read by the inspector and a percentage will be cross-referenced to the on farm records. If lost tags amount to 35% or more of the sample scanned then more livestock will be checked (if possible).

The inspector will have a list of the last movements reported via ARAMS. They will check the last 25 of these against the holding register and movement licences on farm. If there are mistakes/missing information, they will look back further.

They will check that each of the following sections are being completed in a holding register:

  • Movements on to the holding
  • Movements off the holding
  • Births & First Identification on the holding
  • Replacement Tags
  • Deaths
  • Annual Inventory

This information can be electronic or kept in the DEFRA book and three years worth of records must be kept. 

If you need help with an inspection, contact our office.

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