Comment on APHIS’ proposed scrapie program rule changes | TSLN.com

Comment on APHIS’ proposed scrapie program rule changes

On Sept. 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:

Making the identification and recordkeeping requirements for goat owners consistent with those for sheep owners

Formalizing the use of genetic testing to assign risk levels to sheep

Providing the APHIS Administrator with the authority to relieve requirements for sheep and goats exposed to scrapie types, such as Nor98-like, that do not pose a significant risk of transmission

Increasing flexibility for how investigations can be conducted and allowing the epidemiology in a specific flock to be given more consideration in determining flock and animal status

Requiring States to meet surveillance minimums to remain Consistent States. Surveillance minimums are based on the number of breeding sheep or goats in the state.

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Moving the following from the regulation to the APHIS website in the form of program standards to allow quicker response to new information:

List of Consistent States

Allowed identification devices and methods and restrictions on their use

Disease status classification procedures for flocks and animals

Program approved tests for scrapie and scrapie susceptibility and procedures for their use

Specifics on how fair market value is calculated for indemnity purposes

Removes requirement to record individual official identification already on animals when received or purchased

Adds requirement for an owner hauler statement for animals in slaughter channels.

APHIS is seeking comments on the proposed rule through November 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 Nov. 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.

–USDA