Farming minister cuts ‘red tape’ on livestock movement

Simpler rules on livestock movement for farmers have been unveiled by George Eustice, minister of state at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). 

Under the new system, farmers will be able to move their animals around any land they have registered within a 10-mile radius of their home farm under a single county parish holding number – without the need for reporting or standstills.

Farmers moving livestock to other farms or businesses still need to report it.

The previous regulations required farmers to report livestock movements to any other land they own or rent beyond a five-mile radius. Reporting movement automatically triggered a six-day lockdown, or standstill, on the farm, during which no animals could be moved. Sheep, cattle and pigs were all covered by different rules.

The new system began a 12-month roll out on 27 July.

Defra will contact livestock farmers to help with the transition, with a first batch of letters due to be sent this week.

The letters will remind farmers of the changes to animal movement rules and set out the available options. Farmers do not need to do anything until contacted.

“Farming is a fundamental part of our rural economy, producing food, providing jobs and generating £100bn a year,” Eustice said.

“But our farmers often face overly complex rules and regulations. Making it simpler for them to understand what they need to do will not only help them follow the rules – it will improve our disease-control capability by ensuring better information on animal locations is being recorded on Defra’s livestock location database.”

The changes – which were originally recommended by the Task Force on Farming Regulation – are a part of the government’s continuing programme to boost UK food and farming productivity by reducing the time farmers spend on filling out forms and cutting unnecessary red tape.

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