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By: Dr. Diane Sutton, National Scrapie Program Coordinator, USDA APHIS
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The draft Scrapie Eradication UM&R; what does it mean for goat owners?
Because the incidence of scrapie in goats is very low and sampling of goats at slaughter is not considered cost effective at this time, certain specific categories and regulations have been put in place for goats. Goats in slaughter channels will not be required to carry individual identification numbers when they are moved in interstate commerce unless they are scrapie-positive, high risk, exposed or from an infected or source flock.

Commercial low risk goats may be moved in interstate commerce without identification or a certificate of veterinary inspection. Commercial low-risk goats are goats raised for fiber or meat that are not registered or exhibited and that have not been exposed to sheep and that are not scrapie-positive, high risk, or exposed animals, from an infected or source flock, or from a state that has scrapie in goats that is not related to exposure in sheep.

Sexually intact goats used for exhibitions such as fairs, shows, demonstrations and petting zoos or that are registered will be required to carry individual identification numbers and have health certificates to cross state lines. (Note: Goats with legible registry tattoos that are registered with a goat registry and that are accompanied by a copy of their registry certificate do not require any additional identification.)

Restrictions on interstate movement of goats:
Goats that fall into any of the following categories will need to be officially identified to move interstate or in interstate commerce:

  • Sexually intact registered goats and goats used primarily for milk production moving or sold for breeding or exhibition. Note: registration tattoos are acceptable for ID when the goat is accompanied by their registration certificate.

  • Sexually intact goats that have resided on the same premises as sheep.

  • Goats that have been exposed to animals that are affected with scrapie.

Goats that do not have to be identified in interstate commerce:

  • Castrated goats that have not been exposed to scrapie

  • Goats moving in slaughter channels that have not been exposed to scrapie

  • Low risk commercial goats

When is a health certificate required?
For any sexually intact goat moving interstate or in interstate commerce for breeding or exhibition that does not meet the definition of a low risk commercial goat.

If I don't use tattoos, how do I identify my goats?
Request a flock ID number from your local APHIS, Veterinary Services office (in Texas contact the Texas Animal Health Commission). Determine whether eartags or tattoos will work best for you and either purchase eartags from an approved tag company, request USDA eartags free from your local APHIS, Veterinary services office (in Texas contact the Texas Animal Health Commission), or tattoo your APHIS assigned flock ID number and an individual production number in the ear, flank, or tail fold.

If my goats are exposed to scrapie, what will happen?
A State or federal veterinarian will do an investigation. Based on the exposure risk of the herd, applicable regulations, and the owners needs the veterinarian will determine what cleanup and monitoring actions that will be taken. This may include depopulation of part or all of the herd with indemnity and/or testing at necropsy of the highest risk goats and those found dead at over 14 months of age. If your flock is determined to be infected or source some or all of your goats will be restricted to the premises except movements to slaughter until the cleanup plan is completed.

If my herd is determined to be an infected or source herd, can I participate in a pilot project?
No, the live animal test has not been validated in goats and genetic resistance has not been adequately studied in goats so there is no scientific basis for a pilot project for goats.

Where do I find additional information?
On the Internet at:
or by calling your local area Veterinary Services Office. Phone numbers can be found in the government section of your phone book or at:

About the author: The following is also posted with other information at: and at:

Agricultural Research Service

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