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Cattle Identification Inspections

The Isle of Man has a computerised ‘Bovine Identification and Tracing System’ ('BITS').  The system benefits everyone with an interest in the cattle industry - armers, dealers, auctioneers, abattoir operators, retailers and consumers. 

To ensure effectiveness there is a system of inspections, known as ‘Cattle Identification Inspections’ ('CIIs') – to check that the rules are being followed. CIIs commenced on the Island in 2003. The purpose of these inspections is to examine cattle, their eartags, passports and the farm records to check that all cattle identification requirements are being met.  Farm records can be in computer form or movement record books. Inspections will not normally be announced more than 48 hours in advance.  

The inspector will check: 

  • Farm records to determine which animals are present on the holding
  • That births, movements and deaths have been correctly recorded
  • That all animals are correctly tagged, and match the animal’s passport
  • That all animals are present and correct
  • That deadlines for identifying cattle and keeping records have been met
  • That all passports for animals disposed of have been passed on to the new owner or returned to the Cattle Passport Centre

Farms are selected on a basis of ‘risk analysis’ (i.e. late birth applications, errors on birth applications, discrepancies found at the Meat Plant). You are likely to be inspected more frequently if problems have been found during a previous inspection.  

There is an annual cycle of inspections, originally based on 10% of active cattle holdings and reduced (in 2011) to 5%. The number of farms to be visited each year depends in part on how well the rules for cattle identification and record keeping are being followed across the Island. Good practice will result in fewer inspections.

Collective results are produced annually and these have to be sent to the European Commission and other Member States. Individual farm results are not identified in these reports. 

These results are displayed in the downloadable document on the right-hand side.

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