Rinderpest is a contagious viral disease of cloven-hoofed domestic and wild animals. Eradication of the virus following outbreaks depends on rapid and accurate diagnosis of infection and the implementation of control measures. Reporting and confirmatory diagnosis precede the implementation of control measures. A number of techniques have been used for diagnosis such as agar gel immunodiffusion, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), molecular biological techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and virus isolation in tissue culture. Many of these methods are both time consuming and require skilled personnel. The development of a rapid pen-side test for the detection of rinderpest virus (RPV) antigen in lachrymal fluid of cattle is described using the Clearview chromatographic strip test technology (Unipath, Bedford). Optimum conditions for binding monoclonal antibody to nitrocellulose and latex microspheres were determined and a prototype device was developed. The device detected viral antigen in lachrymal fluids from experimentally and naturally infected cattle and showed no cross-reactivity with other related viruses. A field trial was carried out at the Landhi Cattle Colony (LCC), Pakistan, to assess the performance of the rinderpest test under field conditions. Ninety-seven animals, some of which were showing various clinical signs, at LCC and neighbouring colonies were sampled and tested at the pen-side by Clearview and later by immunocapture ELISA (IC-ELISA) at IAH, Pirbright. Nineteen animals were positive by Clearview and/or IC-ELISA. Seventeen out of 19 rinderpest positive animals were positive by Clearview and 15 out of 19 were positive by IC-ELISA. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) confirmed the 19 animals to be rinderpest positive. This simple, rapid, specific test allows for the first time, accurate pen-side diagnosis of rinderpest.