Officials said the image of a bull represented the Greek myth in which Zeus turns himself into a bull and abducts Europa, a beautiful princess.
Campaigners said it was bizarre that there not more outward symbols of Britishness on the card, given that it will be used as a proof of residence.
Lorraine Mulally, spokesman for campaigners Open Europe, said: "The use of EU symbols, instead of national ones, is part of a wider attempt to promote the idea of a common European citizenship, which EU federalists have been pushing for some time. The Government seems happy to buy into this."
Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, added: "A British ID card without a British flag on it? Instead we have the symbol of Europa, and we know what Zeus did to her.
"We don\’t need or want ID cards in the first place, free people in a free country don\’t require them. But to have the European Union thrust down our throats at the same time is simply a load of old bull."