2009-02-26 / Features

Scrapie Requirements for All Sheep And Goat Producers

The National Scrapie Eradication Program was started in 2000 with the goal of eradicating scrapie in the United States by 2010. The Eradication Program requires cooperation from all sheep and goat producers to achieve this goal. In order to monitor the status of the disease and to be able to trace suspect and confirmed cases back to a farm, producers are required to identify their animals with an-official scrapie identification (ID).

Currently the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires all sheep and goats 18 months of age and older transported across state lines to have official ID. January 1, 2009, a new Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) law went into effect. PDA law requires all sheep and goats, regardless of age imported into Pennsylvania or transported within Pennsylvania to be identified by an official form of identification. For Pennsylvania producers this means all sheep and goats must be identified prior to leaving their birth farm. The PDA law is more stringent than the USDA requirement because it requires all sheep and goats to be officially identified. Many other states have either already enacted regulations similar to Pennsylvania's or are in the process of doing so.

There are several forms of official scrapie ID available to producers. Many producers use the free USDA-issued ear tags that can be obtained by calling 866.USDA TAG (866-873-2824). There are also custom ear tags available that have been approved by USDA. The tags used in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program are custom ear tags. A registration tattoo that is clearly readable along with a registration certificate or a USDA-registered scrapie tattoo that is clearly readable are two other forms of official ID.

For more information about the scrapie eradication program or official identification for sheep and goats, contact Greg, at the Fulton County Extension Office at 717-485-4111 or gls

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