The Inspection

These are predominantly run by the RPA or may be contracted out to inspectors who work for Hallmark. Occasionally inspections may be run by someone from the APHA (Animal & Plant Health Agency). Inspections will occur without notice or at short notice.

20% of cattle inspections are randomly selected farms, the other 80% are risk based. If you have passed two consecutive inspections, you will not be selected for risk.

Inspectors will check:

  • That your holding register shows which animals are on or have been on the holding
  • That you have recorded all births, movements and deaths correctly
  • That all animals are correctly tagged, and that their tags match their identification documents
  • That all identification documents are present and correct
  • That you have met the deadlines for identifying cattle and keeping records
  • That all identification documents for animals that have moved have been sent to the new keeper
  • That all the information of dead animals has been returned to BCMS
  • That you are storing all unused ear tags securely

You must provide adequate handling systems and labour to enable the inspector to check each cow’s tags.

Herd/Holding registers must be retained for 10 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last entry was made. 

If problems are found

If the inspector finds discrepancies with any cattle passports, they will collect those passports from you and give you a receipt.

If BCMS can correct the passports, it will do so and return them to you free of charge. You should check them carefully when you receive them. If you have not received them within 4 weeks of the inspection, contact BCMS.

If the inspector finds unidentified animals, you will get a Notice to Prove Identity and Traceability (CPP30/CPPS30). Until you’ve proved their identity, you can’t move them off your holding.

You will also be asked to fit BCMS management tags to the animals. If the identity of the animal can’t be proved and evidence supplied to support this, you may get a Notice of Removal for Compulsory Slaughter (CPP31/CPPS31).

A notice of compulsory slaughter means the animal will be destroyed, you will not get compensation and BCMS may charge you for the costs.


It is not acceptable for a keeper to prolong an inspection without good reason. If a keeper delays and the inspector believes it to be unreasonable this is classed as an obstruction and a ‘Whole Flock/Herd Movement Restriction’ will be imposed and the keepers BPS payment will be withheld.

Obstruction can take a number of different forms:

  • Not allowing an inspection to commence within 48 hours unless Exceptional Circumstances apply, for example death of the keeper or a flash flood or heavy snow
  • Continual delaying tactics or a succession of excuses
  • Not gathering animals and or providing labour
  • Not producing the required records
  • Instructing an inspector to look at animals themselves
  • Making themselves uncontactable
  • Abusive, aggressive behaviour and verbal badgering

Please note: in all cases, the inspector will need to make two physical visits to the holding to meet statutory requirements before reporting it as obstruction.

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