Movement of animals

The highest risk of introducing disease comes from adding new animals to your herd or flock, but there is also a risk when moving your own animals:

  • from other farms used for grazing or wintering
  • between your own farms, or from other holdings within your own business

Taking care protects you, your neighbours and the wider farming community.

On breeding units, operating a closed herd or flock helps as:

  • breeding as many of your own female replacements as possible helps to reduce the risk of disease
  • avoiding hiring or sharing of male breeding animals can exclude the risk of disease


When moving your own animals

  • Minimise the number of times you move your animals.
  • Place all new animals in quarantine upon arrival.
  • Treat all moved animals for external and internal parasites.
  • Keep records of all animal movements.


When introducing or buying new stock, ‘buyer beware’

  • Understand and protect your own stock's health status by selecting stock that meets or exceeds this.
    • Inspect potential new stock and research their health status.
    • Opt for the healthiest animals with highest documented health status (individual and herd).
    • Take advice from your vet regarding health tests and results. The seller’s vet should carry out disease tests before the sale.
  • Buy from as few sources as possible, ideally homebred stock from one farm.
  • Before buying and moving animals:
    • check with your vet and health scheme authorities
    • check all paperwork and record exactly where they come from
  • After buying animals:
    • transport the animals directly from the seller’s farm to your farm, preferably in your own vehicle if possible
    • place all new animals in quarantine upon arrival and test for disease if not already done before moving
    • treat all purchased animals for external and internal parasites
  • If buying abroad, check the import permit and testing requirements in advance. Your vet and Animal and Plant Health Agency can advise
  • If you have any doubts, do not go ahead with purchase or movement

Important points to consider

  • ‘Bed and breakfast’ on other farms, or returning home from markets, shows and sales present similar risks of disease to those when you buy new animals.
  • Hiring in and hiring out breeding males (for example, bulls, boars, rams) is an equally risky practice. They can become infected at transfer between farms (for example,  handlers, vehicles, equipment), as well as during close contact at mating.
  • Orphans and foster animals brought on to your farm pose similar disease risks.
  • Livestock markets and shows are high risk areas for spread of disease, because many animals are gathered together:
    • in close contact (breathing over one another)
    • often under conditions of stress
    • sometimes in shared pens
    • moving through the same passageways
    • where personnel, transport and equipment are often shared
  • To ensure tracing for disease control purposes, always buy through the ring at markets.