Scrapie Tags Revisited

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by SilverVista, May 10, 2005.

  1. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    About a month ago we had a thread that discussed scrapie testing and the confusion between the Site ID program and the voluntary Scrapie-Free program. By the end, I was feeling as though I had failed to keep up with new developments after I received my site number. WELL! One of the moms in our 4-H club is a Scrapie Specialist for the Oregon Dept. of Ag, and I was able to quiz her hard at tonight's meeting. Turns out that absolutely everything that I thought was required in terms of site ID is still the law, and the sale yard near us that has not required ear tags has recently come under the watchful eye of the USDA! Heads up, those of you who sell in that town south of Hubbard on 99E, tags are going to be required. So I thought I'd share what I now understand to be the law, since so many folks didn't seem to know about this.

    The USDA/APHIS requires by law that any sheep or goats that leave the farm of origination for any reason must wear ID including a unique origination site number assigned by and registered with the USDA. The Department of Agriculture for each state is responsible for administering the program for that state. Shows and fairs, sale barns and slaughter houses may not accept unidentified sheep, goats or their carcasses. Now that the USDA is working on a schedule to have ALL animals ID'd by 2007, they are apparently starting to inspect state records and crack down where these rules aren't being followed. The tags and applicator, unless you prefer to use something nicer than what's offered, are provided free of charge.

    We were also told that for those of you interested in the voluntary eradication program (the one Morrison Corner talked about), the USDA has rebates available for blood-testing rams. Since the Q/R factor is one of the tools they use for decision-making in destroying animals in a traced-back flock when scrapie is found, I can see that this program is going to be necessary down the road as a protection for flocks of any value at all. However, they're saying that a QR test outcome only has about 25% the resistance that the RR has, and they're trying to say that RR may not be all it's cracked up to be. Yikes.

    When the national livestock ID plan gets into place, the USDA is dreaming that they will have a record of every time an animal is moved! For example, if we were to take show animals up to the Western Washington Fair in the fall, they would run a bar-code reader over each animal as they come off the truck. When you get home, you have 24 hours to get on the computer and report their return, or their sale to another location. Supposedly this is going to apply not only to cattle, sheep and goats, but to all livestock including horses and chickens. PLEASE NOTE I'M ONLY PASSING ON WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT, NOT ENDORSING IT!!!!! I suppose I can see the reasoning behind it all, but let's just say I'm not overly impressed with our government's ability to staff all the regulatory positions they think they need to keep us'ns in line.

    It's going to be interesting times in which to farm and ranch!

  2. CCSheep

    CCSheep Member

    Feb 28, 2005
    Silver Vista:
    I actually knew you were right, but just kept my fingers quiet...I should have IM'd you about that I guess. Good job on the research, however. I think there is still much confusion about the scrapie program and it's partly due to each state running their own program, even though it's in cooperation with APHIS nationally.

    I'm glad you followed-up on that. I think the scrapie program is here to stay and getting more informed on the latest developments in the program are the best way to be in conformity with the regulations. I certainly haven't gone through all of the paperwork, costs and efforts to enroll in the VSCP to blow it on a tagging issue and get fined, if it's going to come to that sort of regulating.

    On the same note, my state vet told me I could also order some of the free tags used in the mandatory program with my flock number on them to tag slaughter lambs with, so that I don't have to use my expensive VSCP tags on terminal lambs. They would both have the same flock number on them, I would just order sequential numbers that I don't have on my purchased tags. I have always griped about using expensive tags on lambs slaughter-bound, so this is a good solution.

    Jami B.
    Ellensburg, WA

  3. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    Here the scrappie program is strictly voluntary unless you are selling sheep or goats that are over the age of 18 months that are sexually intact (I believe that is their exact wording). Everything under 18 months can be sold without the ear tags.