If you are intending to purchase goats for the first time you will need to follow these legal requirements October 2011

  1. The law requires that ALL goat-keepers; Obtain a HOLDING (CPH) NUMBER and a HERD NUMBER. This applies even if only two goats are kept in the back garden. These must be applied for before you take ownership. They are free and can be obtained by contacting your local DEFRA office.
  2. Keep a GOAT RECORD BOOK (Holding Register) A record book must be kept, recording every movement of individual animals onto or from your holding. All births and deaths must also be recorded in this book. It can be obtained from your local Trading Standards (Animal Health) Office. They must be retained for inspection by a Local Authority Officer.
  3. Keep MEDICAL RECORDS It is a legal requirement that a record is kept of all medicines administered to individual goats. This includes vaccination records. When you collect your goats you will need to provide the seller with your CPH number so that it can be written on the Animal Movement License.
  4. The breeder/seller must; 5. Obtain and complete the ANIMAL MOVEMENT LICENCES (AML) An ANIMAL MOVEMENT LICENCE is obtained from Trading Standards (Animal Health), and has to be completed by the keeper of the animal before the goat can be moved from one place to another. Licences are four page self duplicating forms which have to be completed by the keeper (seller) of the animal. The top (white) copy must be handed to the new keeper on arrival and returned by him/her to the Local Authority (Trading Standards) of the destination premises within three days of the movement occurring. The only exception is for visits to the vet. Once you take ownership of your goats, you become the keeper and it is then your responsibility to obtain and complete the Animal Movement License for any further movements off your Holding. The seller must also write the goat/s ear tag number/s on the Animal Movement License.
  5. INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFY their animals Goats cannot leave their premises of birth unless they are individually identified. The identification takes the form of the herd number of the premises of birth together with a unique individual number for the animal. Animals born after 2008 must carry two forms of this identification. One must be an ear tag and the second may be an ear tag or tattoo. The numbers on both must be identical. Date of tagging must be recorded in your animal record book (Holding Register) If your goat/s lose their ear tag/s (and you were not the breeder) you have two options. You can either order duplicate replacement tags OR apply new red tags with YOUR herd number but you must record the date you re-tagged and new tag numbers in your Holding Register. If one of your goats dies you must;
  6. Dispose of FALLEN STOCK Deaths must be recorded in your animal record book (Holding Register). Fallen stock may either be taken from your premises for disposal by a licensed collector or taken by yourself to a pet crematorium for cremation. Under recent (2011) legislation owners of pet ruminants may now retain the ashes of their cremated animals. NB. You may not bury animal carcasses on your premises and if a carcass is taken by a licensed collector ensure that you keep the receipt with your animal records. If you take your goats to a show or you purchase any new goats this means that you are not allowed to move any goats (or any cloven-hoofed animals) off your holding for a 6-day period (standstill) The only exemptions from this rule are if you have a Defra Approved Isolation Unit OR visits to the vet OR certain visits to a Stud Male for Breeding (see article)

The rules are constantly changing so check with DEFRA or your local authority trading standards department if unsure. For further advice on any of the above;

Defra Helpline; 08459 335577 Livestock ID Helpline; 08450 509876 Welsh Government; 08450 104400 N.B. Non-compliance with any legal requirement can result in prosecution.