All sheep and goats, in accordance with Title 9 Code of Federal Regulations Section 79.6, are required to be tagged by the time they are 18 months old (as evidenced by the eruption of the second incisor) or at the first change of ownership.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) has issued Order 1-AH0-06 directed toward those involved in the breeding, dealing, transportation, auction, or ownership of sheep and goats in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. It is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Infected flocks that contain a high percentage of susceptible animals can experience significant production losses. While there is no scientific evidence that scrapie poses a risk to human health, scrapie has significantly impacted the sheep industry costing an estimated $20 million a year in direct losses and millions of dollars more in lost potential markets and flock productivity. Over a period of several years the number of infected animals increases, and the age at onset of clinical signs decreases making these flocks economically unviable. Female animals sold from infected flocks spread scrapie to other flocks.
The presence of scrapie in the United States prevents the export of breeding stock, semen, and embryos to many other countries. TSEs are the subject of increased attention and concern because of the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, the link between BSE and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in people, and feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) in cats in Europe.
Further information about the Scrapie ID Program can be obtained through the USDA Veterinary Services Office, in Sutton at (508) 363-2290. Ear tags, and further information about the categories of sheep and goats which will require the tags for interstate movement, can be obtained from state or regional USDA/APHIS Veterinary Services Offices, or by calling the scrapie eradication program information line USDA APHIS VS at 866 873 2824.