​Information & Rules on Pig Identification

The rules are as follows:

  • All pigs over 12 months of age need to be identified using a Defra herdmark from every holding they depart
  • The permanent identification of all pigs prior to movement to market, regardless of age and whether moved to slaughter or another holding. Identification can be by either an eartag or a tattoo containing the Defra herdmark or a slapmark. A slapmark must be legible on each shoulder area of the pig
  • Pigs going to slaughter, must use an eartag capable of surviving the processing of the carcase following slaughter. If you are in any doubt about this you will need to check with your eartag supplier regarding your eartag specifications
  • Movements between holdings in the case of pigs under 1 year, may continue using a temporary paint mark which must last at least until a pig reaches it's destination
  • When ordering Slapmarking equipment it is important that manufacturers are supplied with the correct herdmark details when ordering


  • Sufficiently heat resistant that neither the eartag nor the information printed or stamped on it can be damaged by the processing of the carcase following slaughter
  • Contains the letters the letters "UK" followed by your herdmark for example UK AB 1234
  • Easy to read during the pigs lifetime
  • Tags must be made of metal or plastic or a combination of metal and plastic
  • Tamper-resistant
  • Incapable of re-use
  • Of a design that will remain attached to the pig with out harming it
  • Tags used for movements between holdings can be plastic


  • Can be a tattoo of your herdmark - on the ear
  • For example, AB1234
  • UK is not needed


  • A permanent ink mark of the herdmark which is applied on each front shoulder area of the pig
  • Legible for the life of the pig and throughout the processing of its carcase
  • For example, AB1234
  • The use of 'UK' is voluntary
  • Use of compressed air slap marking equipment is permitted

Temporary Mark

  • Paintmark on the pig, for example, a red line, black cross or blue circle
  • Must last until the pig reaches its destination
  • Combined with the movement document the temporary mark identifies the holding from which the pig moved

Identification of Pigs under 12 months old

  • Moves between holdings, can be on a temporary paintmark
  • Moves to slaughter or to any type of market with an eartag, tattoo or double slapmarks

Identification of Pigs over 12 months old

  • Move between holdings  to slaughter and to any type of market with an eartag, tattoo or double slapmarks bearing your defra herdmark

Pet Pig Walking Licences

  • Licences can be issue to take pet pigs for walks
  • For a licence you will need to contact your Animal Health Divisional Office (AHDO) in Carmarthen on 01267 245400
  • Your route will need to be approved - If the Veterinary officer at the AHO believes there is a risk with your route it will not be approved
  • Routes may not be approved due to proximity to a livestock market, high health status pig farms or fast food outlets etc.
  • If it is approved, you are issued with a licence that needs to be reviewed annually

For information and rules on pig keeping from the Welsh Government website click on the following link:

Welsh Government Pig Keeper's Guidance