Date set for livestock movement system upgrade

The long-awaited Livestock Information Service (LIS) will be launched in November.

The service will be a key component in animal disease management and control, allowing the UK government to meet its statutory and international obligations.

The LIS was first unveiled in 2018 by Defra and AHDB, which said it would be operational in September 2019, but there have been delays owing to complexities.

See also: Defra plans to introduce new system to record livestock movements by next September

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 the LIS will also replace the current systems used for reporting cattle and pig movements.

The new sheep service will be used by markets (some 65% of movements come from markets), abattoirs (about 7%), those who report on paper (about 20%) and those using the Arams website (5%) – the remainder is movements between England, Scotland and Wales.

Next steps

Livestock Information said it is now planning to begin communications with the livestock industry – engaging with 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.

It said it was also working closely with providers of third-party software (for farms, markets and abattoirs) to ensure their software is upgraded, tested and ready for the end of November.

“If you currently record 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,” a spokesperson from Livestock Information said.

The law currently requires that all movements are recorded on paper, even if also done electronically. Any subsequent changes to the ways in which livestock movements are reported and recorded will be subject to the usual period of public consultation by Defra, with changes to legislation after that.

Although the LIS for cattle, sheep, goats, deer and pigs is being built for England, Livestock Information and Defra are working closely with the UK 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.

About Livestock Information Ltd

Livestock Information Ltd was formed in October 2019 to manage the development and implementation of the Livestock Improvement Service and improve how animal traceability is managed in England and when moves occur between England, Wales and Scotland.

It is majority-owned by AHDB and minority-owned by Defra – that means it is 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).