Scrapie Regulation Updates

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) has updated the scrapie regulations and program standards. New scientific evidence has led to the recent changes within the program. Specifically, genotypic studies (genetic information) have shown certain sheep genotypes are less susceptible or resistant to contracting the disease.

Scrapie is a degenerative and transmissible disease that affects the central nervous system of small ruminants and eventually results in death. Controlling the spread of disease is difficult because it has a long incubation period without evident clinical disease signs. Eradiation of scrapie from sheep flocks and goat herds is essential to the small ruminant industry.

The changes made to scrapie program will affect sheep and goat producers, handlers and haulers of sheep and goats across state lines, and State governments.

The primary changes include:

  1. Modified definition of high-risk animals. Animals with resistant or less susceptible genotypes are now classified as minimal risk animals. Therefore, producers do not need to depopulate or restrict this category of animals to their farm.
  2. Increased animal traceability. Strengthen identification and disease traceability for sheep and goats.
  3. Improved recordkeeping. More consistent, uniform recordkeeping for both sheep and goats.
  4. Higher indemnity prices. Eligible to certain pregnant ewes and does and early maturing ewes and does.
  5. Increasing genetic testing. For identifying and assigning risk levels to animals.

Requirements for Official ID Tag:

  1. Slaughter channels: to a terminal feedlot, slaughter, slaughter only auctions, personal consumption.
  2. Wethers 18 months or older.
  3. Not in slaughter channels: Ewes, rams, does, bucks of any age need to have an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection issued by an Accredited Veterinarian.

***When in doubt and leaving your farm, put in an official ID eartag***

For more information:

Written By Emily Cope, Ph.D.

Animal Science Specialist, North Carolina A&T State University