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National Sheep Identification System (NSIS)

The EU-wide system for the identification and registration of ovine (sheep) and caprine (goats) animals are set down under Council Regulation (EC) No 21/2004 of 17 December 2003 (as amended).  These rules are implemented in respect of sheep in Ireland under the National Sheep Identification System (NSIS).

Under the NSIS, all flock owners must be registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine (DAFM), all sheep must be tagged and details of all sheep on farms and all sheep movements must be fully recorded.  The NSIS encompasses all stakeholders in the production chain including producers, marts and slaughter plants.

In May 2018, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Michael Creed T.D. announced the extension of electronic tagging to all sheep and made a further announcement in August 2018.

The extension of EID to all sheep  will be implemented in two phases, commencing on 01 October 2018, from when NSIS-approved tag suppliers will generally only be permitted to sell electronic sheep tags. The current identification and movement rules will continue in force until 31 May 2019 to allow keepers to use current stocks of conventional tags on sheep moving from their holding, up to end-May 2019.

With effect from 01 June 2019, all sheep moved must be identified electronically. Lambs aged under 12 months moving directly to slaughter from the holding of origin may be identified with a single electronic tag in the right ear. All other sheep (including lambs moving farm-to-farm, to marts, shows etc.) must be identified with a full EID set of tags comprising one electronic tag in the animal’s right ear and a corresponding conventional tag, bearing the same individual animal identification number, in the sheep’s left ear. 

Further information on the National Sheep Identification System is available through the following links:

Further information on any aspect of NSIS may be obtained by contacting the NSIS Helpline on 076 1064407 or by contacting your Local Regional Office.