NVAP Reference Guide - Interstate Movement of Cattle, Horses, Swine, Sheep and Goats

Last Modified: March 20, 2024



Control and Eradication


Aquatic Animal

Animal Health Emergency Management

Animal Movement

Animal Identification 



Feeder cattle and those cattle and bison that move directly to slaughter do not require individual official identification; i.e., may move on backtags. 

With some exemptions in described in  86.4, these are required:

Beef cattle and bison:

  • sexually intact and 18 months or older
  • used for rodeo or recreational events (regardless of age)
  • used for shows or exhibitions

Dairy cattle:

  • all female dairy cattle
  • all male dairy cattle born after March 11, 2013

(see the section entitled “Current Animal Identification”) and accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection or other document. Exceptions apply to certain movements, such as when there is no change of ownership or movements to certain stockyards or slaughtering establishments. Check with your APHIS –VS Area Offices or your State animal health official. Contact information for them is contained in Appendixes 2 and 3.


For interstate movements, most States require that horses be individually identified and accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. Specific requirements, such as proof of negative EIA testing, or other restrictions of movement based on regional or national disease conditions such as neurological Equine Herpes Virus, equine piroplasmosis, or Contagious Equine Metritis, are dictated by each importing state.


For interstate movements, all swine must be individually identified with official identification unless the swine are kept as a group. The CFR part 71.19 explains the requirements for group shipment of swine. Additionally, swine moving within a production system do not need to be individually identified if there is a swine production health plan agreement, as defined in 9 CFR Part 71.1, in place. Producers who are moving swine via interstate commerce within their production system may qualify if all the necessary agreements are implemented. To qualify for within production system movements the producer would need to develop a swine production health plan. The plans have to be approved by both the sending and receiving swine State animal health officials.  There are also additional requirements on moving swine within a production system.  These requirements are explained in 9 CFR 71.19(g) 

Sheep and Goats

For interstate movement, CVIs are required, as specified by 9 CFR 79.3, for certain interstate movements of sheep and goats. CVIs may be required for other classes of animals by some States. For sheep and goats, CVIs are required for:

  • Breeding sheep and goats (any sexually intact animal that is not moving directly to slaughter, through slaughter channels to slaughter, or to a feedlot to enhance its condition for movement to slaughter) except
    • Sheep and goats being moved to a federally approve market;
    • Sheep and goats being moved for grazing without change of ownership;
    • Low-risk commercial sheep that require an owner and veterinary statement instead of a CVI;
    • Low-risk commercial breeding goats (Note: an owner and veterinary statement is not required, unlike the practice for low-risk commercial sheep. Goats that have been commingled with sheep or that are in CO, MI, or IL do not qualify for the low-risk commercial goat exemption);
    • Sexually intact sheep or goats for exhibition (some states or shows may require CVIs for wethers).

Please note that scrapie-positive, suspect, and high-risk animals, some exposed animals, and animals that originated in an infected or source flock require permits rather than CVIs. Contact the VS District Office for further information on these permits. 

A certificate must show

Individual animal identification numbers including: the official eartag number(s), breed association registration tattoo or brand numbers, breed association registration number and any other official individual identification on each animal to be moved. Except that in the case of animals identified flock ID that is assigned to the flock of origin and that meets the requirements for individual animal identification, the flock ID may be recorded instead of the individual identification number. (Copies of the registration papers can be attached to the CVI in lieu of recording all registration information on the certificate. Other attachments may also be used to list the identification of the animals as permitted in 9 CFR 79.5(b), in lieu of recording them directly on the certificate.)

  • Number of animals covered by the certificate.
  • Purpose for which the animals are to be moved.
  • Points of origin and destination.
  • The consignor and the consignee.
  • A statement by the issuing accredited or State or Federal veterinarian that the animals were not exhibiting clinical signs associated with scrapie at the time of examination. 
    (State CVIs that have certification statements indicating that “the animals have no history of clinical signs or exposure to contagious or infectious diseases,” or words to that effect, will suffice in lieu of the specific scrapie statement). 

For additional information, please refer to the section on “Identification Requirements” in the Scrapie Eradication— Uniform Methods and Rules (271.72 KB). (271.72 KB)