Sheep and Goat Identification in France

Owners of sheep and goats (even if they have just one) are responsible for the identification and proper registration of the animal. Find out how...

The identification of all sheep and goats in France is compulsory. Sheep and goats required to be double tagged - a tag in each ear.

Animal Identification

Any person who owns a sheep or goat - whether as a professional farmer or not, and whether keeping an animal for commercial reasons or not - must ensure the maintenance of the identification of these animals. Even if a person owns just one goat, the same rules apply.

All sheep and goats must be identified with a numéro d'exploitation from the local EDE (Etablissement Départemental d'Elevage), or GDS (Groupement de Défense Sanitaire). These are departmental associations whose role is to survey the health of animals. The GDS are recognised and subsidised by the government.

Animals born before the 31 July 2005 keep their original identification number and under no means can this identification number be changed.

All animals born after the 31 July 2005 must receive a permanent, ear tag in each ear within 6 months of their birth or before they are sold or moved. (Lambs bred for slaughter before the age of 12 months need be tagged in one ear only).

The identification number contains the following information:

  • Code of the country of birth (FR for France)
  • A six digit identification code
  • Five digits which may indicate the birth date of the animal

Tags can be ordered from the local EDE or GDS. It is the owner's responsibility to replace lost ear tags.

The owner or breeder of the sheep and goats must keep a identification log (registre d’exploitation) which contains the following:

  • A list of tags and identification numbers for each animal
  • Date the identification took place
  • Movement documents. These must accompany the animal if it is transported elsewhere
  • An inventory list indicating the number of animals in the flock or herd.

A fine per animal can be imposed on owners of unidentified animals. Each animal that is not tagged will be seized and put down.

Note: UK raised sheep and goats must be double-tagged if they are to be exported to France.

New technologies

New software for the identification and traceability of cows, sheep and goats is being introduced across France.

Regional Information



  • EDE Bretagne Service Identification Ovins et Caprins
    At: BP 540, 22 195 Plérin Cedex
    Tel: 02 96 79 22 26
    Fax: 02 96 79 21 70
  • GDS Bretagne
    At: 8, avenue Edgard Degas, 56019 Vannes
    Tel: 02 97 63 09 09




Further information