VSFCP National Standards (Revised June 2017)

National Standards Index


Participation in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (VSFCP) is optional. The program is designed to give producers a means of detecting and controlling scrapie within their flock/herd, resulting in recognition that the risk of their animals being infected with scrapie diminishes to negligible with progressive participation in the program. A sheep or goat producer can join the VSFCP provided that the producer agrees to adhere to the program rules. The program certifies flocks/herds with respect to classical scrapie only, and does not cover “atypical” scrapie which is clinically, pathologically, biochemically and epidemiologically unrelated to classical scrapie. Atypical scrapie may, in fact, be a non-contagious, spontaneous degenerative condition of older sheep. As such, throughout this document, when the term “scrapie” is used, it refers to classical scrapie only.

Since there is no test to rule-out the disease in the individual live animal, “scrapie-negligible-risk” status is based on the results of surveillance testing carried out on deadstock, screening the flock/herd for presence of disease, removing genetically susceptible animals, restricting animals entering the flock/herd, and the absence of clinical signs.

There are three separate paths that can be followed for a flock/herd to achieve certified status. Pathway 1 involves limiting acquisitions to animals from similar or higher status flocks/herds and ongoing surveillance through the submission of deadstock for scrapie testing. The program includes six levels, from the entry level (level E) to the highest level (certified). A minimum of five years (one year each at level E, D, C, B, A) is necessary to reach the certified level on the program. Pathway 1 is the only pathway of the 3 available pathways that is consistent with OIE guidelines. To qualify as a scrapie-free establishment OIE guidelines must be complied with for at least 7 years. This is not to be confused with Canada's definition of negligible risk. Flocks /herds on the VSFCP are considered to have negligible risk for classical scrapie after reaching Certified Level which may be reached after 5 years on the program.

Pathway 2 involves genotype screening sheep to identify adults that possess the genotype susceptible to scrapie (goats are not genotyped), and then screening these animals by means of the third eyelid test or recto-anal mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (RAMALT) biopsy test. Negative results give a reasonable level of assurance that the disease is not present in the flock/herd and the flock/herd may apply to enter at level B. Ongoing surveillance of deadstock continues to monitor for the presence of the disease.

Pathway 3 involves genotype screening and elimination of genetically susceptible sheep from the breeding flock. The flock may then apply to enter at level A. Ongoing surveillance of deadstock continues to monitor for the presence of the disease.

The VSFCP is carried out in co-operation with producers, accredited veterinarians, national stakeholder organizations, provincial governments, approved laboratories and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The roles assumed by each of these organizations may vary in different regions of Canada.


Scrapie Information & Facts


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