Proposed Rule to Update Scrapie Program Regulations Available for Review and Comment
On September 10, 2015 APHIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to amend the regulations for the National Scrapie Eradication Program. The proposed changes to the program are based on current scientific understanding of scrapie as well as input from the sheep and goat sectors and the public. APHIS believes the proposed changes 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. The main changes would include:
APHIS is seeking comments on the proposed rule through December 9, 2015.
Members of the public can obtain a copy of the proposed rule and submit comments at Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127.
APHIS is also seeking comments on the draft Scrapie Program Standards, Volume 1: National Scrapie Eradication Program through December 9, 2015 which has been revised based on the proposed 9 CFR changes and includes the material that the proposed rule indicates will be published on the APHIS Scrapie Web page. The proposed Web page information is also provided in separate document for easy reference. To submit comments on the program standards, web page information or proposed rule, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2007-0127. Comments may also be submitted by Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0127, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.
You Are the Key to Declaring the U.S. Free of Scrapie
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:
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 90 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.
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