In 2001 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiated an accelerated program to eradicate scrapie from the nation’s sheep flocks and goat herds.  This program has reduced the prevalence of scrapie by over 85%, but, to find and eliminate the last few cases, the cooperation of sheep and goat producers everywhere is needed.

The National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP) coordinated by the USDA is a joint effort that includes participation by state governments and industry, particularly producers.

Producers can contribute significantly to this program by

  • Officially identifying their sheep and goats per the federal regulations and the regulations of their state.
  • Reporting suspect sheep and goats to a State, Federal, or accredited veterinarian.
  • Submitting heads from sheep and goats over 18 months of age that die for scrapie testing
  • Using genetic selection in flocks at risk.

The identification requirements for each state are available on this website.  If you are unsure whether a particular sheep or goat needs to be identified, tag it.

For information on this fatal degenerative brain disease of sheep and goats, NSEP progress and other aspects of the program, please click on the topics listed in the box in the upper right-hand side of this webpage.

Other excellent sources of information regarding scrapie and the NSEPNeed Tags? include

  • Your USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services area office
  • Your State Veterinarian’s office
  • Accredited veterinarians
  • American Sheep Industry Association website: A Producer’s Guide to Scrapie.

You are also encouraged to call the scrapie toll free number 866-USDA-TAG (866-873-2824 Select option 7 for Epidemiologist officer) to request official ear tags at no cost and/or a flock ID number or for more information.

For additional information regarding scrapie, scrapie program rules and voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP), please visit the USDA/APHIS/Veterinary Services website:National Scrapie Eradication Program