Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. It is among a number of diseases classified as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). Infected flocks that contain a high percentage of susceptible animals can experience significant production losses. Over a period of several years the number of infected animals increases, and the age at onset of clinical signs decreases making these flocks economically unviable. Animals sold from infected flocks spread scrapie to other flocks.
The presence of scrapie in the United States also prevents the export of breeding stock, semen, and embryos to many other countries. TSEs are the subject of increased attention and concern because of the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, the link between BSE and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in people, and feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) in cats in Europe.
For additional information see the USDA/APHIS Scrapie Program
The Scrapie Eradication Program is now mandatory. This federal disease control program is designed to accelerate the eradication of the fatal brain disease, Scrapie, from the nation’s sheep flocks and goat herds began November 19, 2001. The program requires ear tags to be placed in all sheep and some types of goats by their owners before they are sold by private treaty or transported to a sale, show, or exhibition. Flocks enrolled in the Scrapie Flock Certification Program will not need to make any changes. Slaughter surveillance programs are under way now to determine the prevalence of Scrapie in the United States. The presence of the ear tags will allow trace back to the flock of origin of animals whose brains test positive for Scrapie. A plan can then be instituted in these flocks to eliminate the Scrapie infection. An indemnity program is in place to compensate owners for the financial loss that may incur from live animals that have to be destroyed due to Scrapie infection or exposure.
Tags may be ordered using this form or you may call 1-866-USDA-TAG (1-866-873-2824) or 1-800-642-7761 ext.7215 to request tags. Tags and applicator pliers are available to producers free of charge from the USDA, APHIS, VS office.
The following need to be tagged by their owners with USDA approved tags:
SHEEP and GOATS:
Before a change of ownership occurs by sale by trade, private treaty, or auction
Before transport to a livestock market
Before transport to a slaughter facility
Before transport to a show, fair, petting zoo, or other exhibition
Please Note: Registered goats that have a legible registry tattoo and are accompanied by their registry certificate do not require tags. The tattoo must be registered as a unique entity with the breed registry and our USDA, APHIS, VS office.
Ear Tag Form
Tags may be ordered using this form, or you may call 1-866-USDA-TAG (1-866-873-2824) or 1-800-642-7761 ext.7215 to request tags.
Please remember to keep written records of ear tags on all sheep and goats you sell or purchase. This could be very important if any animal you buy/sell is involved in a Scrapie trace back investigation. Dates of sale/purchase and names of buyer/seller are vital information. When you sell an animal you should keep a written record of the ear tag number along with the buyer information. If the animal is sold at a public auction, you only need to keep the name of the auction in your records, not the name of the buyer. The same type of records should be kept on purchased animals, i.e. ear tag numbers and who you purchased from. If a purchased animal looses the original ear tag, when you replace it with one of your own tags, you should record the old tag and indicate in your records the ear tag number that was used to replace it.
When you present sheep or goats to a stockyard for sale, you should have the ear tag numbers written down so they can be provided to the stockyard at the time of lotting in. The stockyard personnel should write the ear tag numbers on the lotting in slip along with your name and other vital information.
All records should be kept for a period of five years after the transaction occurs.
© Alabama Department of Agriculture