Scapies program/ Why should one volunteer?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Caelma, May 8, 2006.

  1. Caelma

    Caelma Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    In building a couple of small sheep herds
    and with all the fuss about NAIS
    not to mention I'm kind of anti big brother
    (meaning if my critters are well fed, sheltered, watered and healthy, I prefer the government to stay out of my business and use their time for more important things.)

    That being said, why enter the voluntary Srapies program?
    I am open minded, see what you can do to educate me and see the importance in this program?
  2. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Washington State
    I asked this over and over...both just to myself (good conversation starter, lol!) and on this and other sheep boards. Basically, here are my conclusions:

    If you take your animals to any form of show, they'll need to be on the mandatory program at the very least. The state sends your info off to Premiere, who then sends you a box of tags and the tool to put in the tag. End of story, basically, and you're responsible for keeping track of which number you put into which sheep's ear. When you haul to a show, the vet is supposed to come and check each animal's health, then record your sheep's number; this doesn't always get done.

    The voluntary program has some staunch supporters; I'm not one of them. I don't see any real harm in it, I'm just not a staunch supporter :rolleyes: When I called to ask about the program here in WA, I spoke with Millie, who is in charge. She sent me the paperwork to enroll, but didn't seem like it was really a big deal. She said that some people felt it gave their flock an added value, but she wasn't sure it really did. No coaxing or prompting from me on those comments, she just offered them up. I liked that she was so laid back about the whole thing.

    For added value, however, it really does depend on your market. With the icelandics, there is a relatively small gene pool in the US, so they import semen. In order to have it imported, you need to be enrolled in the voluntary program; plus in order to buy a lamb with an AI parent, you need to be in the program. But, you don't need to be in it for the second generation offspring.

    There is currently no cost for the voluntary program. Just like the mandatory one, they send you the equipment. The biggest difference is a vet comes and checks your animals once a year to be sure they aren't showing any clinical signs of scrapie. This is what seems silly to me, because as with BSE, there's no sure fire way without slaughtering the animal to know if they've got it. And if you're a hands on shepherd, you'll know when your animal is sick and showing signs. Plus, a once a year check does nothing for the 12 months in between. But...that's their safe guard, and since it's paid for by the state for the first five years, you're risking nothing. After that five years, you just have your vet out once a year, which many folks do anyway.

    Some people in the program are after the 5 year 'Certified Scrapie Free' classification. Others enroll only so they can purchase those AI genes. Some people think it will somehow keep scrapie at bay.

    If you want to be able to sell your animals to someone else within the program, your's will have to be in the program, because most won't purchase ewes from you unless they want to risk being sent back to the bottom of that five year ladder. With the icelandics, the volunatry scrapie program has been a big thing...but not everyone is enrolled (like me...yet.) I purchased from flocks that are enrolled, so they've got their tags, but I myself am not enrolled. Rams are not an issue, as they don't bring down the entire flocks enrollment status; they just get bumped back down themselves if they head to a non-enrolled farm or one with a lower status.

    Hope that gives you some food for thought :)

  3. Sprout

    Sprout Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    The Sunny Okie transplant ground of Californie
    Dito. However scrappie is madtatory in CA but there is no cost, that is if your using thier aproved and free tags, there are others available for use in the program but only a certain type are free. If you're going to show or sell breeding stock or lambs for use other that personal, eg a feedlot or an unknown I'd join the program but if your simply raising freezer meat then I wouldn't bother you can always register later if you do decide to enter the show ring or have a ramb or ewe you'd like to sell
  4. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2004
    We've been enrolled in the voluntary program for 4 years now. We have to be enrolled to attend some of the shows we go to, and many enrolled breeder's won't buy from you unless you're enrolled. The state vet's are catching a lot of scrapie positive flocks in my area and helping them get cleaned up. So if they are helping to eradicate a truly horrible disease, I say more power to them.