SRUC

Flock masters wishing to export breeding sheep and goats throughout the EU may have their flock or herd monitored under the provisions of the Scrapie Monitoring Scheme administered by SRUC Veterinary Services. Registered flocks and herds undergo an annual flock inspection by the official vet, obey the biosecurity rules and brains from all adult fallen stock should be screened for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). Flocks gain Controlled risk status after three years and Negligible Risk status after seven years. Please see the scheme rules for further details.

For non-monitored flocks wishing to export sheep/goats to Northern Ireland only, a new temporary Scrapie Qualifying status has been created. Please see below for details and links to the relevant documents.

What is scrapie?

Scrapie is an infectious wasting disease affecting the nervous system of adult sheep and is very difficult to control. It has been a notifiable disease in the UK since 1993 and is one of the TSEs. The causal agent is resistant to normal disinfection procedures and the disease has a long incubation period. There is no cure, no vaccine, the condition is fatal and animals pass on their genetic susceptibility to the next generation.

Scrapie Qualifying Status

Scrapie Qualifying status is a new temporary status within the Great Britain Scrapie Monitored Scheme (SMS).

Animals from flocks with Scrapie Qualifying status are not Scrapie Monitored as defined in the Scrapie Monitoring Scheme rules, but they are eligible for export to Northern Ireland under a limited derogation within the relevant EU Regulations.

You can download the Scrapie Qualifying Notes for further details about Qualifying status. Additional details on the process for moving breeding sheep and goats from GB to NI are available from APHA and Daera

Application for Scrapie Qualifying Status

To obtain Scrapie Qualifying status, flock owners/keepers must apply to join the SMS on or before 31 December 2021 and undertake to comply with SMS rules for the next three years after which they will progress to SMS (Controlled Risk) status. The normal Scrapie Monitoring Scheme annual fee will be charged for Qualifying status flocks.

The application form should be completed by owner/keeper and Official Veterinarian (OV) and returned to SRUC by email or post (details on the form).

You can download the SMS Qualifying form to apply for Scrapie Qualifying status.

Temporary locations, such as for away wintering: Qualifying status animals (other than ARR/ARR certified sheep) can only move to holdings with the same scrapie status, or equivalent. If they move onto any other holding they lose their status. This means they can only move onto holdings that are Scrapie Qualifying or Monitored (a Monitored holding would drop to Qualifying status), or a holding which has had no non-Qualifying/Monitored animals present since the start of the Qualifying period (any Monitored animals would drop to Qualifying status). The owner of the temporary holding and an Official Veterinarian (OV) must complete and submit the Temporary Location form.

On successful application, SRUC will send a Qualifying status certificate to the client, which then needs to be certified by an OV.

If the owner/keeper has already started following all the SMS rules but the flock has not yet been monitoring for three years, and wishes to export live animals to Northern Ireland under the temporary derogation, they must apply for Scrapie Qualifying status as above.

  • If no Qualifying status animals are added to the flock, and no animals return to the flock after contact with Qualifying status animals then the flock can register for SMS Controlled status when they have been monitoring for three years
  • However, if Qualifying status animals are added to the flock, or animals return to the flock after contact with Qualifying status animals then the three-year monitoring period starts from scratch in line with the standard timetable for Qualifying flocks (see the link above for further details)
  • If the owner/keeper has already been following all the SMS rules for at least three years (including annual OV inspection, TSE testing and adherence to biosecurity requirements) then they should register directly for SMS Controlled Risk status
  • You can download the SMS Registration form to apply for SMS membership

Carcass testing

Carcases or heads from fallen stock can be submitted for testing to:

 

SRUC Veterinary Services

Scrapie genotyping

Scrapie gene testing enables flock masters to select breeding sheep which are resistant to Scrapie. Animals can be tested at any age using a blood or semen sample. Testing is usually limited to stud rams, ram lambs retained for breeding and ewes being selected for embryo transfer. Scrapie genotyping is not a test for the presence of the disease but does reveal if the animal were to be exposed to the disease, what chance it has of contracting it.

Scrapie Genotyping can also be used to allow the export of resistant animals or allow them to join Scrapie Monitored flocks. Genotyping performed for these purposes must be undertaken at a Defra approved laboratory and samples taken by a veterinary surgeon. The current Defra approved laboratories are APHA and SRUC.

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