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Clint Perkins

Below is a May 2 news release from the Texas Animal Health Commission regarding the new national sheep and goat identification and record-keeping requirements that have gone into effect. I wanted to help make everybody aware of this.

AUSTIN – The United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) announced new nationwide identification and recordkeeping requirements for sheep and goats on March 25, 2019. Although the rule has gone into effect, there will be an education period for compliance.

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Because there is no cure or treatment for the disease, USDA-APHIS established the National Scrapie Eradication Program which has reduced the prevalence of scrapie in adult sheep sampled at slaughter by over 99 percent.

USDA-APHIS believes the final rule will result in a more effective disease eradication program. The rule provides a more flexible approach to disease investigations and affected flock management, and more consistent animal identification and recordkeeping requirements between sheep and goats.

Please find a summary of the new nationwide identification and recordkeeping requirements for sheep and goats below.

Official Identification Requirements

All sheep and goats must have official identification (I.D.) when moving off their premises of origin, unless they are one of the following:

• Sheep and goats moving with a group I.D. and owner/hauler statement, which includes:

▪ sheep and goats under 18 months of age in slaughter channels; and

▪ sheep and goats of any age shipped directly to a slaughter establishment that has agreed to act as an agent for the owner to apply official identification. All the animals in a section of a truck must be from the same flock of origin.

• Castrated sheep or goats under 18 months of age.

Official Identification

Acceptable forms of official identification include plastic flock I.D. tags, Scrapie 840 radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags, metal flock I.D. tags and serial tags. Registered tattoos and 840 electronic implants are accepted as official I.D. with the exception of sheep and goats that are in slaughter channels or moving through a livestock market or buying station.

To get a premises or flock I.D. for your official tags call 1-800-550-8242 ext. 733. USDA will provide up to 80 plastic flock I.D. tags to producers who have not received free tags from the USDA in the past. For additional questions about getting official I.D. tags call 866-USDA-TAG.

Back tags will still be allowed for direct-to-slaughter movements of earless animals, and, with approval, aggressive animals where it may be too dangerous to tag.

Record-keeping Requirements

Records must be kept for a minimum of five years by accredited veterinarians, markets, dealers, owners, or agents who apply official identification to sheep or goats.

For TAHC recordkeeping requirements visit the Texas Administrative Code Scrapie Chapter, Animal Identification and Record Keeping or speak with a TAHC representative.

Sheep and Goat Movement

Sheep and goats are required to have a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) within 30 days prior to entry and they must have official identification. Please note there are additional testing requirements for breeding sheep. For a full list of entry requirements visit the https://www.tahc.texas.gov/regs/entry.html.

More Information

For more information about sheep and goat identification and recordkeeping requirements, or the National Scrapie Eradication Program, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/scrapie.

If you have questions about the new regulations, contact the Texas USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services Office at 512-383-2400, or contact the TAHC at 512-719-0733.

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