The rules on the registration and identification of goats across the EU are governed by Council Regulation 21/2004, as transposed into national legislation via S.I. 792/2005 (as amended). These rules are implemented through the National Goat Identification System (NGIS). The NGIS sets out the rules and keeper responsibilities in the areas of goat herd registration, animal identification, the notification of animal movements, record keeping and census completion.
As required under the EU legislation, my Department conducts an annual goat census, generally in December each year. Data from the 2019 Goat Census show a national goat population of 8,774 with an avergage herd size of 13 at that time.
General enforcement of welfare and other legislation relevant to the keeping of goats is undertaken through my Department's Regional Office network, where Department personnel have local knowledge of the registered holdings in a given area.
In accordance with cross compliance requirements, my Department carries out a number of inspections on goat identification and registration at individual farm level each year. These inspections involve checks on animal identification (tagging), dispatch (movement) documents, annual census information as well as checks on data recorded on my Department's Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) database and in the keeper's flock register. These checks ensure compliance with the identification and registration legislation. Where welfare issues are observed during an inspection, sanctions can be recorded against the relevant keeper.
Goats are not slaughtered at DAFM approved slaughter plants but at Local Authority (LA) approved abattoirs. The AIM database records the movement of 692 goats to LA abattoirs in 2020. However, the specific slaughter information requested is not recorded in my Department.