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Livestock identification, registration and traceability


​​The Central Husbandry Register (CHR) stores information on holdings, ID's of cattle, movement of cattle, pigs, sheep and goats and veterinary information of holdings. Also, CHR shows the density of animals in the different municipalities in Denmark. Thus, CHR plays an important role in the veterinary preparedness.

The Centr​​al Husbandry Register

All herds with cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and commercial herds with deer, poultry, foxes, minks, fish, mussels and crayfish are recorded in the database. The CHR stores information on a unique holding code, the address and the geographic coordinates of the holding, data on the owner and keeper of the herds present (name, address and contact numbers), animal species, number of animals of all species, allocation of ear tags and veterinary information.

Since 1998, data on each individual head of cattle has been stored. Individual animal information includes the unique animal identification code, date of birth, breed, sex, identification code of the dam (in case of embryo transfer both the genetic and recipient dam is recorded), information on offspring (only for females), allocation of ear tags including replacement tags, all movements made by the animal (date, place and type of movement) and veterinary events, if any. In 1999, the European Commission approved the CHR as being a fully operational database for cattle registration.

Since 2002, movements of pigs have been recorded in the CHR. For each batch of pigs being moved, the following information is recorded: The number of pigs moved, date and time of shipment, CHR of holding of origin, CHR holding of destination and registration number and country code of the vehicle used for the transportation. With this information, complete traceability of pigs and vehicles used for transport of pigs is achieved.

Also since 2002, movements of sheep and goats have been recorded in the CHR. For each batch of animals being moved, the following information is recorded: The number of animals, date of movement, holding of origin and the destination of the animals.

Information in the CHR database is available to the public on the Internet.​

The use​ of CHR in control of animal diseases

The CHR database is an effective tool for tracing contact herds to herds suspected or infected with a notifiable disease. Furthermore, the CHR helps to control further spreading of diseases as the competent authority will impose movement restrictions on holdings in case of suspicions or outbreaks of notifiable diseases. Restrictions will also be imposed in case of failure to comply with the provisions of animal identification and registration. This implies that the farmer is not allowed to move animals from the holding, and accompanying movement documents cannot be issued. The CHR has a feature showing the density of animals in the different parts of Denmark. Using this information can help the authorities to predict where the demand for personnel is most critical during a situation with outbreak of diseases. The feature is also available to the public at CHR's homepage (see link above).

To secure the production of safe food, all abattoirs must consult CHR before slaughtering cattle in order to make sure that the animal is correctly recorded in the CHR, and that the animal or herd is not under restrictions. Before slaughtering sheep and goats, abattoirs must also make sure that the herd sending off the animals is not under restrictions.

Validati​on of data in CHR

To secure a high level of data quality in the CHR, various procedures of data validation are in operation.

The validation procedures include automatic control systems with procedures including follow-ups on missing, inconsistent or late notifications. Farmers will be asked to correct data and may be facing legal actions.

Once a year, every farmer is asked to confirm or correct the registered information in the CHR on his herds. This includes information on number of animals; name, address and contact number of owner and keeper; the veterinary clinic responsible for the herd; and the type of herd (e.g. dairy or beef cattle).
The farmer can confirm or correct data using this Internet site.

Iden​tification of animals

Cattle must be tagged with two ear tags no later than 20 days after birth, and before they leave the holding of origin. One of the ear tags must be electronic.

Pigs must be tagged with one ear tag before leaving the holding of origin. However, slaughtering pigs can be marked with a tattoo. Also, Denmark has introduced a system of moving of slaughter pigs without any tagging. To use this procedure, all pigs loaded on the lorry must come from slaughter herds having the same owner, and all the pigs must have the same herd of origin (birth). At the abattoirs using this system, there must be procedures to ensure that the traceability of the pigs is secured.

Since 2003, sheep and goats must be tagged with two ear tags no later than 60 days after birth and before leaving the holding of origin. A lost ear tag must be replaced.

For cattle, sheep and goats, the animal identification code is printed on the ear tag. The identification code consists of the holding code plus an individual number. A replacement tag has the same identification code and printing as the original ear tag. Moreover, the replacement tag is printed with a version number in Roman (e.g. 'I'). For pigs, the holding code of the holding of origin is printed on the ear tag. A replacement tag for pigs can be printed with the holding code of the animal's current location.​

Movement documents

Cattle moved to other EU member states must be accompanied by a passport with information on the animal and the herd. When sheep and goats are moved, they must be accompanied by a health document – even when they are moved for slaughter. A group of sheep or goats can be accompanied by one document provided that the animals are moved at the same time and between the same locations.

Both the passport and the health document are issued by CHR. The documents cannot be issued, if the animal or the herd is under official restrictions due to suspicion or confirmation of a notifiable disease or due to failure to comply with the provisions of animal identification and registration.
The documents can be issued via this Internet site by the farmer himself.

On-th​​e-spot inspections

The Danish authorities perform on-the-spot inspections of cattle, sheep and goat holdings. Every year, the authorities inspect 3 % of all cattle, sheep and goat holdings. The inspectors check whether the provisions of animal identification and registration have been followed. The selection of the herds is based on a risk analysis. All results of the inspections are recorded in the CHR.

Failure to comply with the provisions may affect the farmer’s EU subsidies as a consequence of cross compliance. Furthermore, the farmer may be fined following national legal action.

Last Modified 22. June 2022