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Agriculture Department has new rule for goat identification

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) has a new rule requiring official identification for goats that are transported within the state.

This change will create consistency with surrounding states and with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Traceability and Scrapie rule, allowing for traceability and easier interstate movement of goats. TDA will be working with goat owners and industry stakeholders to gain compliance by July 1.

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

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. Although there is no evidence that 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,” State Veterinarian Dr. Charlie Hatcher said. “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 (NSEP) 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 maintaining traceability and eliminating the last few cases in the United States. Producers are urged to enroll in the NSEP.

The state veterinarian is responsible for monitoring for and preventing the spread of animal disease, as well as promoting animal health in Tennessee. More information about Tennessee sheep and goat identification requirements, as well as the National Scrapie Eradication Program, can be found at here.

Published March 13, 2018

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