APHIS Proposes Changes to Scrapie Regulations
The Federal Register notice proposing changes to scrapie regulations by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was posted in September.
Items recommended to be amended include changing the risk groups and categories established for individual animals and for flocks; increasing the use of genetic testing as a means of assigning risk levels to animals; reducing movement restrictions for animals found to be genetically less susceptible or resistant to scrapie; and simplifying, reducing or removing certain recordkeeping requirements.
APHIS is also proposing to provide designated scrapie epidemiologists more alternatives and flexibility when testing animals in order to determine flock designations under the regulations. A change to the definition of high-risk animal is recommended, which will change the types of animals eligible for indemnity and to pay higher indemnity for certain pregnant ewes and early maturing ewes.
The proposed changes also make the identification and recordkeeping requirements for goat owners consistent with those for sheep owners. These changes would affect sheep and goat producers, persons who handle sheep and goats in interstate commerce and state governments.
“ASI has, for several years now, asked APHIS to propose amendments to the scrapie eradication regulation to help expedite the eradication process through the recognition of recent scientific findings, experience with program implementation and progress toward the eradication goal,” said Burton Pfliger, ASI president. “We appreciate USDA finally getting this proposed rule out for public comment. ASI will be analyzing the proposed rule and will be filing comments.”
All comments must be submitted on or before Nov. 9 to be considered. The proposed rule is available at gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-09-10/html/2015-21909.htm.