NVAP Reference Guide: Swine Identification

Last Modified: March 20, 2024



Control and Eradication


Aquatic Animal

Animal Health Emergency Management

Animal Movement

Animal Identification 


Current APHIS-approved means of swine identification devices (ID) are identified below. Approved swine ID and methods may change depending on technological advances or changes in the code of federal regulations. If you have questions / concerns regarding current animal identification devices that would be considered as official ID for your state; please contact your State Animal Health official or the Assistant District Director overseeing your state for more information. 

The current list of approved APHIS swine identification devices / methods includes:

  • Official eartags.

  • USDA backtags only when used on swine moving in slaughter channels.

  • Official swine tattoos (issued and authorized by State or Federal Animal Health Officials) on swine moving in slaughter channels.

  • Ear notching if the ear notching has been recorded in the book of record of a purebred registry association.

  • Tattoos on the ear or inner flank of any swine if the tattoos have been recorded in the book of record of a swine registry association.

  • For slaughter swine and feeder swine, an eartag or tattoo bearing the Premises Identification Number assigned by the State Animal Health Official to the premises on which the swine originated.

  • Other official identification methods may be used if approved by the Administrator of APHIS or anyone authorized to act for the Administrator.