Sheep service live November 2021

The Livestock Information Service for reporting sheep, goat and deer movements will be launched in November 2021, retiring the current Animal Reporting and Movement Service (ARAMS).

Livestock Information Limited is a new company, set up to improve how animal traceability is managed in England and when moves occur between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is majority owned by AHDB and minority owned by Defra – that means it’s both part of government (and so can collect statutory data) and part of industry (so, in the future, can make use of non-statutory data to provide information and analysis to livestock businesses). This delivery model is like that used in leading nations across the world. It is a model that was advocated by industry, which has provided considerable expertise – through the Traceability Design User Group (TDUG) – to co-create the service and help define how Defra is delivering the programme.

Livestock Information’s plan is to improve the ways that animal movements are reported, replacing the current systems used for reporting sheep, cattle and pig movements in several phases and, in the future, moving to a paperless process.

The first process and system to be replaced is for reporting sheep, goat and deer movements. This will happen in November 2021, retiring the current Animal Reporting and Movement Service (ARAMS). Later in 2022 and 2023 processes and systems for cattle and pig movements will be replaced.  

The new sheep service will be used by all keepers including: markets (some 65% of movements come from markets), abattoirs (about 7%) who report moves electronically via ARAMS, those who report on paper (farmer keepers – about 20%) and others using that website (5%) – the remainder is moves between England, Scotland and Wales.

Livestock Information is now planning to begin communications with the livestock industry – engaging with keepers*, including farmers, abattoirs, markets and hauliers and other key stakeholders – to explain how they can register for the new service and what they may need to do differently.  We are also working closely with providers of 3rd party software (for farms, markets and abattoirs) to ensure that their software is upgraded, tested and ready for the end of November.

If you currently report your livestock movements on paper only or through a farm software package, the new Livestock Information Service will not feel very different to the current ARAMS service to begin with. This is deliberate – it’s vital that there is continuity between the old and new services, before any improvements and additional features can be added. Also, the law currently requires that all sheep movements are reported on paper, even if also done so electronically. Any proposed changes to the ways in which livestock movements are reported and recorded will be subject to the usual period of public consultation by Defra and changes to legislation after that. 

Although the multispecies Livestock Information Service for cattle, sheep, goats, deer and pigs is being built for England, Livestock Information and Defra are working closely with the Devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to agree how livestock data will be shared across borders to ensure full traceability throughout the UK. 

For further information, email info@livestockinformation.org.uk

*Keeper

For the purposes of these services, a keeper is a person or organisation responsible for livestock whether on farm, in transit, at market, at abattoir or at holding premises.

Ends/more

Media contact: media@livestockinformation.org.uk

Notes

  1. Background to the Livestock Information Service

Livestock Information Limited was created on 1 October 2019 to manage the development and implementation of the Livestock Information Service, which will provide world-leading standards of livestock traceability in England. The service will be a key component in animal disease management and control, allowing the UK government to meet its statutory and international obligations. It will also provide opportunities for more information to be made available to the agriculture industry, promoting greater efficiency and productivity, yielding wider economic benefits by facilitating access to export markets

The programme to build the service – known as the Livestock Information Programme (LIP) – is working closely with colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who are managing and developing their own programmes and services. We all have a collective priority to make sure that our systems talk to each other and work well for users, irrespective of whether they are moving animals within or across borders. 

The Traceability Design User Group (TDUG) sits the heart the programme. This is a representative user advisory group of more than 20 trade, government (including Defra and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) and academia specialists from across the meat and livestock industry, to ensure that user needs are at the heart of the Livestock information Service. 

The Livestock Information Service will eventually replace the three current traceability services for cattle (BCMS), sheep, goats and deer (ARAMS), and pigs (eAML2), and will make life easier for farmers, producers, abattoirs and other stakeholders who need to record livestock births and movements, using one, easy-to-use service for all species. 

  • Technical matters associated with the sheep transition

Although the initial transition is for sheep, goats and deer only, Livestock Information has developed a “unicorn-ready” multispecies platform (called the Core Livestock Application or CLA), which will be deployed in a secure, resilient Azure infrastructure. Azure is Microsoft’s flexible, cost-effective, secure, resilient, scalable cloud platform that will adjust to Livestock Information’s changing needs as the business develops.  In time, keepers will be able see all their holdings in one place. In time, we expect industry to be able to invest in services that use the Azure infrastructure, giving a cost-effective and high-quality platform for data innovation in the meat and livestock sectors, something the industry has never had access to before.

  • Future benefits of the Livestock Information Service

When the service has been fully rolled out, it will deliver numerous benefits to both industry and government.

Everyone:

  • Faster, more effective response to disease outbreaks (think track-and-trace for livestock)

All users:

  • All users should expect to benefit from powerful reporting. This is not just a benefit government – in time, industry should look forward to reports that include other datasets (for example, health, but also potentially integrating with other commercial data).

Keepers:

  • One account for all species
  • Holding register, if wanted, for all species (via the UI)
  • Clean, modern user interface
  • Simple messaging for actions or alerts on the dashboard
  • More capability to update/manage holdings

Third-party software providers and ear tag manufacturers

  • Consistent interface for all species, reducing costs
  • One place to interact for tags

Markets/collection centres etc.

  • Fewer failures resulting from poor system data (e.g. tag issues)

Government customer support staff

  • Much improved service, all in one place, tailored to how they work

Government users

  • Powerful reporting, drawing together data across all species
  • Consultation

We expect Defra to consult soon on proposals that will further enhance how traceability works nationally and on farm. This is likely to include bovine electronic identification (bEID), paperless moves, pre-notification and more.

Ends/all

Bovine eID update

Bovine electronic identification in England – Defra Q&A November 2020

Defra will be seeking views on the proposed approach to Bovine Electronic Identification (bEID) in 2021. The consultation will seek views on both mandatory and voluntary options. They will also consult on additional policy changes relating to cattle identification and traceability which includes:

  • Removal of cattle passports 
  • Removal of the option to report in writing 
  • Enabling pre-movement reporting 
  • Capturing transport/haulier details (to bring cattle in line with sheep, goats, and pigs) 
  • Enabling reporting of show moves as a circular movement 

When will bEID be introduced?

Defra will use responses submitted to the public consultation to inform how they proceed with implementation plans. They plan to introduce bEID during a quieter period in the year for cattle keepers, and in advance of spring or autumn peak calving, to ensure keepers have time to familiarise themselves with the proposed changes. 

How far in advance should I order conventional cattle tags? 

Keepers are advised to avoid stockpiling cattle tags and only order the amount needed for spring calving (2021).  A further update will be released closer to autumn calving (2021). 

Scotland and Wales are also implementing bEID – are your timescales for introduction similar? 

In line with the devolved nature of animal health policy, each administration is working on its own timetable. Having said that, Defra are working collaboratively to ensure that policy changes are as aligned as possible and that no administration creates burden or confusion for keepers. Following the public consultation, there  will be clearer timescales for the implementation of bEID. 

Will bEID be mandatory? 

Defra will be seeking views on both mandatory and voluntary bEID in the public consultation. They will review all responses received, before finalising bEID policy.