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National Scrapie Eradication Program

Final Rule to Update Scrapie Program Regulations has been published

The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2019. APHIS believes the Final Rule will result in a more effective disease eradication program, with a more flexible approach to disease investigations and affected flock management, and more consistent animal identification and recordkeeping requirements between sheep and goats. Many of the specifics requirements regarding official eartags and official ID methods such as tattoos and implantable electronic ID (microchips) and on how indemnity is calculated were moved to the Scrapie Program Standards, Volume 1: National Scrapie Eradication Program.

As of November 1, 2021, section II.J. 4. (a) of the Program Standards pertaining to how commercial sheep and goat indemnity values are calculated was superseded by the USDA Commercial Indemnity Table. The commercial indemnity values in this table represent harmonized methods and data sources at the USDA level, and will be updated each calendar year. These commercial indemnity values are estimated based on observable market transactions available from nationally recognized data sources including the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). These data provide observations of market transactions occurring at fair market value (FMV), which provide the basis for the estimates.

Changes to the methods in determining indemnity valuations were made to (1) Address stakeholder requests for a more simplified and unified approach. (2) Develop a transparent and data-driven indemnity value process to set indemnity values for all regulated species (USDA APHIS 9 CFR, Parts 50-56) and other relevant species. (3) Harmonize methods and data sources between the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS), USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the USDA Farm Production and Conservation Business Center (FPAC-BC). Certain classes of sheep and goats are not represented in this table. A process for valuing these animals is currently being finalized.

Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) affecting sheep and goats. The presence of classical scrapie in the U.S. sheep and goat population affects industry economically through production losses, lost exports, and increased production and disposal costs. Public health concerns related to the transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to humans have resulted in efforts to eradicate all TSEs in food-producing animals.

Surveillance for scrapie in the United States is conducted through the National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP), a cooperative State-Federal-industry program. The surveillance components of the NSEP include:

  1. Regulatory Scrapie Slaughter Surveillance (RSSS);
  2. Non-slaughter surveillance (e.g., trace investigations, on-farm testing); and
  3. The Scrapie Free Flock Certification Program  (SFCP).

The program’s goals are to eradicate classical scrapie from the United States and to meet World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) criteria for disease freedom. Since 2002, the prevalence of scrapie has decreased significantly through existing eradication efforts, largely a result of effective slaughter surveillance.

Since slaughter surveillance stared in FY 2003, the percent of cull sheep found positive at slaughter (once adjusted for face color) has decreased 99 percent. However, in order to declare the U.S. “scrapie free”, we must be able to prove to the world that we have conducted testing in all sheep and goat populations. This is why your submission of samples from sheep/goats over 18 months of age found dead or euthanized on your farm is extremely important. Without your help, we will not be able to declare the US free of scrapie, costing the sheep and goat industries approximately $10 to $20 million, annually.

Educate yourself on the clinical signs of scrapie.

Report. Contact your State Veterinarian or the USDA Veterinary Services Office for your state if your sheep or goat, older than 12 months, exhibits clinical signs of scrapie. Testing clinical suspects is the most cost effective way to find scrapie infected animals.

Submit samples or whole heads from sheep and goats over 18 months of age that die or are euthanized on your premises. Additional information is available on how you or your veterinarian can submit samples or whole heads for scrapie testing.

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