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New rule announced for goat identification

Staff Reports • May 22, 2018 at 8:49 PM

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced recently a new rule that requires official identification for goats moved within the state. 

It change will create consistency with surrounding states and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s traceability and scrapie rule that allows for traceability and easier interstate movement of goats. TDA will work with goat owners and industry stakeholders to gain compliance by July 1.

The rule is for identification purposes only. There are no additional testing or reporting requirements related to scrapie.

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Although there is no evidence scrapie poses a risk to human health, there is no cure or treatment for the disease in livestock at this time.

“Scrapie is a serious disease that must be eradicated,” said state veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher. “Having official identification for our goats in Tennessee will significantly improve the chances of accomplishing that goal.”

The most commonly used form of identification for goats is a scrapie tag. Tennessee sheep and goat producers can order this metal ear tag for free through the National Scrapie Eradication Program by calling the local USDA office at 615-781-5314.

The NSEP has reduced the prevalence of scrapie in adult sheep sampled at slaughter by more than 99 percent. Sheep and goat producers who tag their livestock are critical to maintain traceability and eliminating the last few cases in the U.S. Producers are urged to enroll in the NSEP.

The state veterinarian is responsible for the monitor and prevention of the spread of animal disease, as well as promotion of animal health in Tennessee. More information about Tennessee sheep and goat identification requirements, as well as the National Scrapie Eradication Program, may be found at tn.gov/agriculture/businesses/animals/animal-health/traceability/sheep-goat.html.

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