Cattle inspections

Date published: 26 January, 2016

To see recent changes to this guidance, check the bottom of this page.

Why do we inspect cattle?

The Scottish Government (through RPID) carries out cattle identification inspections to make sure cattle keepers are complying with animal identification and traceability, and (where applicable) voluntary coupled support scheme legislation set by the United Kingdom and European Union.

Every year, we must carry out inspections on:

  • three per cent of holdings with cattle
  • five per cent of Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme claimants
  • five per cent of Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme claimed animals

The main purpose of the inspection is to check you are complying with the cattle keeper requirements so that we can monitor and trace the cattle population if there is a serious disease outbreak.

What our inspectors do

The inspector confirms whether the key requirements of cattle identification and traceability legislation have been complied with.

The key requirements are:

  • you are registered with Animal and Plant Health Association as the keeper of cattle
  • you have tagged your cattle in accordance with current legislation
  • you have registered your cattle with the British Cattle Movement Service and notified all births, movements and deaths
  • you have retained the appropriate passports
  • you keep records of all cattle births, movements and deaths

The inspector will check your cattle records and passports against the information supplied to the Cattle Tracing System database, verifying the information in your records plus other supporting documents such as purchase and sales invoices.

The inspector will physically inspect your animals to verify the accuracy of your records and check the eartags to ensure the cattle have been tagged correctly.

Cross Compliance

Cattle inspections are a part of the Cross Compliance inspections programme and designed to ensure the highest standards in Scottish agriculture

The Scottish Government is liable for fines from Europe if there is widespread failure to meet key rules.

So, if you fail any part of your inspection, you could be liable for a reduction in any subsidy payments you receive or even legal action.

If you do fail part or all of your inspection, we will refer to this as a breach and any further action will be assessed depending on how serious the breach is.

Find out more about Cross Compliance

Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (Mainland and Islands)

If you have applied or plan to apply for the Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme, then it's important that you read the full scheme guidance to understand your obligations.

Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (Mainland and Islands)

Further information

The Cattle Keeper's Handbook provides a reference to what's required for identification and traceability.

Cattle Keeper's Handbook

The following documents are used by RPID inspectors and offer some help and guidance on what you can expect when inspections take place:

Recent changes

Section Change Previous text New text
Why do we inspect cattle?New section- 
What our inspectors doNew section- 
Inspection outcomesRemoved section  
Cross ComplianceNew section- 
Scottish Suckler Beef Support SchemeNew section- 
Further informationNew links and documents added Cattle – inspection report form

Cattle – inspection risk selection criteria

Previous versions

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